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The Business Lunch – How to Do it Right

The business lunch happens as much in the PD world as it does anywhere else – sealing a partnership with a co-sponsor, enlisting the support of a key cheerleader, planning future content or debriefing a program, etc. If you are the one making the invitation it’s probably because you’re the one who needs something. Getting someone to actually agree to lunch is a good sign – people are incredibly busy. Whether it’s because they are interested in you or something you are pitching, a yes usually means that they are engaged (versus hungry and looking for someone else to pick up the tab). Unfortunately, how to keep that all important target engaged during lunch isn’t something most industry conferences teach. Enter a great little article from the Esquire Guy Ross McCammon. McCammon looks at the art of the business lunch, and dissects it in detail, sharing practical suggestions for everything from where to go, to when to arrive, to when to order, and how to mix business and social talk. His overriding message that most of us intuitively know but can easily forget in the day to day hustle is that lunching is a form of relationship building, and the key is to put the other person first. You can read the full article, Let’s do Lunch, in the August 2012 issue of Entrepreneur. In the interim, here are some of my favourites from McCammon’s tips:

  • Assistants get better tables than the actual diner. Have someone else make the reservation.
  • If your plate is at least 1/3 more full than the other person’s, you’re talking too much.
  • If the other person checks their watch, immediately ask for the cheque.
  • If the other person checks their pulse, immediately ask for an ambulance 🙂

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