Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Successful Business Lunches

Your business lunches don’t necessarily have to be in the middle of the day. If it works, you can also schedule meetings during other meal times.

It seems more often than not, no meeting is complete without food. Whether it is because we are all so busy and the two-birds-one-stone approach allows us to eat and work, or because meetings are always more fun when you can score a free muffin, food is essential. We found an article on Inc.com that highlights some of the ways to have a successful business lunch so that your attempts to multitask or feed your employees and guests run smoothly. This article, called “7 Rules of a Successful Business Lunch” by Matthew Swyers, details the (you guessed it!) seven best ways to ensure productivity while your members are filling their stomachs.

1. Work on your schedule

Your business lunches don’t necessarily have to be in the middle of the day. If it works, you can also schedule meetings during other meal times. Work breakfasts and dinners are also acceptable, but make sure that you don’t interfere with your employees or members plans if you have specified certain times during the day when they should be available. For example, don’t ask your employees to come in early for a breakfast meeting — even though you’re providing food, they may resent that they had to find alternatives for day care or transportation.

2. Don’t forget about why you’re there

People enjoy food, that’s why you’ve included it in your meeting, but don’t forget that you’re there to work. Often, people can get swept up in their meal and leave without accomplishing anything. So, remember to get stuff done.

3. Don’t get too personal

Because people like to eat, they often drop their defenses when food is placed in front of them. Even though you are hosting a meeting, try not to let things get too personal, but allow some friendly banter. The goal here is to get people to enjoy themselves enough to contribute, not bare their souls.

4. Business and alcohol don’t mix

Just don’t.

5. Manners, please

Like in any gathering, try to use good manners and keep the conversation moving. Also, the eating habits you have at home may not be appropriate for office lunches, so always use your napkin, don’t talk with your mouthful, among other things.

6. Keep silence to a minimum

This rule toes the line between getting too personal but also takes the edge off the traditional business meeting. Share some things about yourself and try to learn something about the other people in your group. This will not only foster a sense of community, but could also offer insight into their ideas.

7. Pay

When you are invited to a business lunch, you do not expect to have to pay. Don’t schedule this type of meeting if you don’t plan on treating your guests. So, if you decide to have a business lunch, or breakfast, pick up the check.