How to Master the Business Lunch
In the words of Esquire magazine’s Ross McCammon, “The business lunch exists so that two people may converse about business matters (which is a meeting), while doing something they had to do anyway (which is eating). It is formal, yet it is human. It is committal, yet it is noncommittal. It is awkward, yet it is tasty. The business lunch is a paradox.”
1. Let the paradox begin. Whether it’s a secretary, assistant, right-hand man/woman, find out who is the gatekeeper to the person you want to talk to. But remember; be persistent and charming, but not annoying (and don’t worry, little bit of awkwardness is a pretty much given.
2. Doing something they had to do anyway. Everyone eats lunch (at least that we know of) and there are so many ways to use a lunch meeting stand out to an executive, but the most unique and memorable come from great research – Google and LinkedIn are a good start but asking people who work closely with them is even better.
3. Formal yet human. Pick a place that’s easy for the person you’re meeting with to get to. It’s helpful if you’ve been there before and have already gauged their service and how they treat their customers – you want them to exceed your expectations.
4. Converse about business matters. You may be there to pitch your business, but lunch is a time for socializing. Take 15 minutes to have an interesting conversation and be yourself. People want to talk to someone who is comfortable being around a potential new business partner and to verify that you and your business are still interesting. At the end of the day, you are creating a relationship, make it count.
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