Business dinners are commonplace for many working individuals.
Whether it is to develop a relationship with a new client, reward a top performer on your team or meet with prospective investors, getting together and breaking bread with others.
Although dinners are after work, and you may be tired and counting the minutes when you can go home, you must remain professional.
In fact, your behaviour at a business dinner can determine its success.
Keep the following things in mind next time you are heading to meet colleagues or business acquaintances:
Keep It Professional
After a long day at the office, it may be tempting to unwind and let loose, but you must remember that you have to maintain your professional demeanour.
It is a good idea to wait and see if your client or boss orders a drink before you get one too.
However, regardless of their choices, keep control by limiting yourself to one to three drinks, depending on your tolerance.
Additionally, unless you know the person very well, it may be a good idea to avoid controversial topics, such as religion and politics.
You never know what beliefs the person you are dining with holds, and you don’t want to create a conflict that hurts your business relationship.
Focus On Your Nonverbals
Most people realise that they need to watch what they say at business dinners, but not everyone knows to watch what they do!
Your nonverbal cues can actually make more of an impact than your verbal ones.
Things to avoid are:
- Slouching or yawning (signifying you’re tired)
- Drumming your fingers or tapping your foot (signifying your anxious)
- Rolling your eyes (signifying you’re annoyed)
- Avoiding eye contact (signifying you’re not interested in the other party or uncomfortable in their presence)
Have Some Fun
Business dinners are different than meetings; they are conducted after hours, and most people are looking to relax and have some fun.
If you devote the entire time to business talk, you may lose the attention and the interest of the other participants.
Spend some time getting to know the other person – ask about their interests, hobbies and passions.
Describe some interesting stories about yourself, such as recent travels or your favourite pastimes.
Try to relate to the other individual on a personal level and get them to laugh or share with you – this can be a stepping stone to forging a great relationship!