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Business meal with the boss! What are my duties as the guest?

What are my duties as the guest?  No worries!!

This is wonderful news! Think of your business lunch or dinner as an opportunity to have an enjoyable interaction with management, outside of the office.

This dinner can be a great way to enhance both your career and social life. Below are fifteen tips to assist you in presenting yourself as having the soft skills your organization needs:

  1. Be punctual.
  2. Your host will greet you with a handshake. Shake your host’s hand, maintain eye contact and smile.
  3. Wait for your host to sit first before seating yourself. Your host may have designated a particular seat for you and other guests.
  4. You cell phone is turned off and never placed on the table. Your tablet/laptop is only placed on the table if a working meal was discussed prior to the meal itself. Tablets/laptops are best used after the meal is cleared.
  5. Ask your host what he or she recommends on the menu. This will give you an idea as to the appropriate price range. As a guest, you will never order either the least expensive or the most expensive item on the menu. Order something in the mid­price range.
  6. If your host wishes to say grace, your obligation as a guest is to be respectful. If your host leads a prayer before a meal, your job is to sit respectfully with your head and eyes tilted down slightly. It is not necessary for you to say anything.
  7. Since this is a business meal, consider carefully before ordering an alcoholic beverage. If your host/boss insists that you order a drink, do so if you wish. Never order more than one drink at a business meal.
  8. If an associate of your host stops by the table, he or she will be introduced. Always rise and shake hands.
  9. When you see someone you recognize at a restaurant, smile and say “Hello” as you pass his or her table when you enter or leave the restaurant. Do not stop at your colleague’s table. Or after you are seated, you may smile and nod from your own table if you see someone you know. Never stop and stand over your acquaintance’s table.
  10. Never order foods that are difficult to eat. Don’t order spaghetti, open-faced sandwiches that have gravy on them, or anything that drips.
  11. Do not offer to pay for the meal. The person who extended the invitation is the person who pays for the meal.
  12. Never ask for a “doggie bag” after a business meal. You do not want to leave the impression that you cannot afford to pay for your next meal.
  13. If you are dining informally at your host’s private home, it is appropriate to bring a small hostess gift to the meal. Chocolates or gourmet cookies are both excellent choices. If you know that the couple or individual giving the dinner drinks wine, a bottle of good wine is always very nice. Do not expect your gift to be opened that evening.
  14. Flowers, if not in a vase, present the host or hostess with the awkward situation of abandoning his or her other guests to search for a container. You may want to send flowers the next day along with a thank-­you note if this was a special occasion. These suggestions are for small dinner parties only. Hostess gifts are not brought to large or formal dinner parties.
  15. Be sure to follow-up with a thank-you e-mail or telephone call for a business lunch or dinner. If the occasion was at your supervisor’s home, send a short thank-­you note.

Keep in mind that your host may be thanking you for a job well-done. Also, your host may want to see how you behave in public. This may be a test of your social skills for possible advancement within the organization!

He or she may be trying to get to know you and your qualifications better. That’s great. You are being positively recognized. Be confident; go to this meal and have a wonderful time.

Excerpts of blog may have been taken from the book: Hospitality Management – People Skills & Manners on and off the Job. Copyright © 2015 Lyn Pont, Ph.D.

“Pont’s book is a must-read for anyone considering a career in hospitality.”

— Isadore Sharp, chairman and founder, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

See the book at: www.HospitalityManners.com

Visit Lyn at: www.MannersForBusiness.com

#hospitality #dining #etiquette #manners #business

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