Latest "business meals" Posts
At a recent networking event, a young man named Tony told me he edged out the competition to land a plum job at a Fortune 100 firm.
He’d interviewed first with an executive recruiter, who told Tony he only had one other candidate in mind to recommend for the position. Tony knew the other candidate and thought for sure he was outmatched. The other guy had the impressive resume, the connections, the experience, and some important technical skills that Tony did not have. And yet, Tony won the position.
“How did you beat out the other candidate?” I asked.
“Table manners,” he answered.
It turns out that the recruiter always takes serious candidates out for a meal at an upscale restaurant nearby. Tony’s competition might have had the technical skills and the experience, but he made a series of etiquette gaffes that told the recruiter he was not ready for such a high-profile job.
Are courtesy and professionalism just facades that you show in the office, or a true reflection of the authentic you? Let me share a true story …
An embarrassed coaching client, a top sales representative at her firm, once told me that she’d learned an important lesson about professionalism the hard way.
She was running late for a lunch meeting with a potential new account — someone she’d carefully wooed via phone and e-mail. The account, if she landed it, would be the most lucrative one she’d ever had … and it would put her in line for a much-coveted promotion.
The restaurant my client had picked was in one of Chicago’s busiest, trendiest neighborhoods. She circled the block four times, looking for parking. The time grew later and her temper grew shorter.
Have you ever found yourself in a sticky business situation?
I don’t mean when a corporate raider comes sniffing around like a wolf at the door. I mean during that power lunch, job interview, professional conference, board meeting, office party, or anytime that a situation arises and you are just not sure of the proper protocol.
You don’t want to step in it. You certainly don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot. You definitely don’t want to put your foot in your mouth. And you do want to put your best foot forward. (Hmmmm. I wonder why so many expressions about social or professional gaffes refer to feet?)
Do you know how to handle that all-important introduction of your boss to your biggest client?
Do you know how to offer a handshake that leaves a strong and professional impression?
I read a terrific article on Entrepreneur.com about business etiquette: “Fifteen Business Etiquette Rules. The tips given included many for business lunches, frequently known as “power lunches.”
One rule really stuck in my mind: Never ask for a “to-go” box or “doggy bag” (even if you DO have a dog at home).
Are you laughing? Do you think that’s the silliest excuse for a tip you’ve ever heard, and the idea that this should be included in a list of business etiquette “rules” for client meals is ludicrous?
Well, let’s take a closer look…
For starters, many things that are perfectly appropriate — even sensible and practical — for a family dinner or lunch with your best buddies are simply not appropriate for business. When it comes to the world of business lunches (and other meals), however, none of these activities reflect professionalism:
• Squabbling over the check
• Insisting that everyone split the bill down to the last dime based on what they ate
• Taking and making phone calls, whipping out your smart phone to take a picture of the pu-pu platter and texting it off to your friends or posting it on Facebook
All of these actions may be fine in your private life, in a casual setting.