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Business Dinner Faux Pas To Avoid Print E-mail

Power lunches and business dinners form part-and-parcel of business and client entertainment. Such formal or informal affairs are often good opportunities to make personal contact and discuss about work in a more congenial environment.

Nevertheless, do not take for granted that contact with clients and business partners outside of the boardroom means it is not about work. Of course it is all about work!

Resist the temptation to let your hair down and avoid the following mistakes.

1. Being Fashionably Late
Regardless of your genuine excuses, your punctuality and promptness speaks volumes about how highly you regard your guests; it is impolite to make your guests wait.

Your punctuality depicts also your respect and enthusiasm, especially to the people from whom you want to gain trust, and this demonstrates that you value their time and company.

Being fashionably late does not apply here. Arrive at least five minutes early or right on time.

2. Using Your Mobile Phone or Other Devices
We have all experienced the annoyance of being drowned out by someone else's loud phone conversations and be distracted by random beeps and ring tones around us.

Mobile phones and devices such as laptops and e-books have become such a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, that many do not realise how invasive they can be in social and business settings. Being with someone who is constantly distracted by his/her mobile phone can be frustrating and even offensive.

Turn off all your mobile devices, or switch them to Silent Mode. Keep your devices, no matter how fashionable, away from view or in your bag. No matter how strong the temptation, avoid sneaking glances at your mobile phone to check for incoming messages.

If you must answer a call or send an urgent message, excuse yourself to do so and make it quick.

3. Downing A Tipple or Two
Depending on your guests and their culture, alcoholic beverages as part of business dinners can be appropriate, inappropriate or anticipated.

Indulging in a tipple too many can "blur" your meeting objectives and in worse cases, cost you your job or the business deal.

As far as possible, avoid consuming alcohol during the meeting, and if you have to, order one drink and sip it slowly. By keeping your head clear and focussed, you set the pace for business discussions and arrive faster at what you set out to achieve.

4. Hunger Pangs
Never arrive at the dinner on an empty stomach. The focus of your dinner meeting should be on business, and not the food.

Having a light snack prior to your appointment helps you to be in your best form, and allows you to give your guests your full attention throughout the meal.

Similarly, avoid messy finger food and always be ready to offer a firm handshake with your right hand.

5. Bad Table Manners
Keeping to a set of good table manners can enhance the meal experience for you and your fellow diners. Never let the more-casual atmosphere of a business dinner lower your guard, as poor table manners can be unappetising, distasteful, and plain rude.

The list can go on, but here are some rules to follow:
  • Sit up straight and never place your elbows heavily on the table;
  • Avoid chewing with your mouth open;
  • Do not talk with food in your mouth;
  • Do not order the most expensive item on the menu (unless the host indicates that it is alright to do so);
  • Always eat at the same pace as your guests; and
  • Do not reach across the table to pick up an item that you need. Ask someone to pass it to you.

There are some tricky-to-handle-foods, which you may wish to avoid at a business meal. Read more on Food To Avoid on a First Date.

Avoid these common mistakes and make a good impression at your next business meal!



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Comments  

 
+1 #1 Karen Choo 2010-03-15 08:54
Eating and Talking at the same time! Eeeew!!
A major turn-off!
 
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