6 business etiquette tips for client hospitality
Good manners may just be the little detail that helps you seal the deal
People meet over a meal to build relationships. Primarily, a business meal is an attempt to seal the deal, or to build a long-term relationship for a potentially fruitful business collaboration.
1. Eye the right table in advance. If you are hosting a client, try to pre-book a table that's not right in the middle of the restaurant. Book a more private corner table. You invited him to seal the deal, not because you thought he needed a meal.
2. Settle yourself on your seat. When you are sitting, position yourself correctly. Adjust the armrests and the chair so you are seated comfortably. Keep your posture straight; don't slouch in your chair. You will look slimmer, taller and more authoritative if you just keep your position erect.
3. Avoid messy food. The brioche with hollandaise sauce and meatloaf may sound divine. But it's got disaster written all over it. Keep that option for another day. Choose elegant to cut and comfortable to eat food. Salad, pre-cut chicken breast and sushi are good options.
4. Keep cell phones off the table. Cell phones are a major etiquette faux pas. Don't keep your cell phone on the table, and ensure that it is on silent mode. During a business or social meeting, if you are expecting an important call, let your client or colleagues know in advance. This way, you will be managing their expectations too.
5. Play the host. You are always the host with a client. If it's a business lunch with a client, do pre-authorise your credit card. If a restaurant doesn't allow that, just don't go there. Most upscale restaurants would gladly accommodate your requests. The sign of money is quite unsophisticated; it's much more elegant to say simply, it's been settled without you getting the tab in front of him, entering your pin, signing receipts etc.
6. Watch the clock. Always arrive a few mins earlier than late. For a business lunch, being late is not acceptable. By arriving on time, you show that you respect the other person's time and you are professional and dependable. Also, arriving 15 minutes earlier will give you time to settle. If you are the client, give your host the time, and don't arrive too early.
Next week's column will be all about handling a social meeting with finesse. Till then, #beextraordinary.