When it comes to having a business meeting over lunch, dinner, or drinks, it can be a bit of a conundrum to decide what to order. A cocktail like the Absolut Drinks Espresso Martini is always a great choice.
Like any other type of business meeting, you will want to be prepared. This is especially true when you are meeting with a client rather than with colleagues.
Do your homework
Like any meeting, you will need to be prepared. And, because it will be conducted in a restaurant, you will need to take special care when choosing the spot. Depending on the importance of the meeting, you may want to do a test run and see how noisy and busy the restaurant is during the time that your meeting will take place. Don’t be afraid to switch venues a few days ahead of time if you find that the original choice won’t be suitable. Have a desired outcome in mind as you prepare for the meeting and try to steer the conversation in a way that any necessary topics will be covered.
It’s always a great idea to be early. You will want to be sure to have a reservation and to have confirmed it the day before. Arriving early will let you deal with any problems with the table. An early arrival will also let you get your bearings, enjoy a cocktail, and collect your thoughts. You will be able to peruse the menu to see what looks appetizing and also learn about any daily specials. Having this little bit of extra time will help you to feel ready and confident. When you are early, it’s a lot easier to be composed and take the lead in the meeting. Being a passive bystander will get you the results you want very infrequently.
Have an agenda in mind
There’s no need to print out an agenda or email one to the client prior to the business meeting. But, you will definitely want to have a loose idea of what to talk about. If you are bringing any printed materials with you, or have information or graphics to share from your tablet or laptop, be sure to bring them out before any food is delivered to the table. Once you have set the tone of the meeting, it’s okay to take a short break from talking about business as you eat your meals. Refocusing the discussion over dessert, coffee, or cocktails will let the other party know that you’re confident in your approach and don’t need to rely on high-pressure tactics.
Be ready with the next steps
Once the meeting has concluded, you will want to take the opportunity to settle on some next steps. This could be as simple as the two parties agreeing to follow up in a few days, or it could be something more concrete, like finalizing a contract or sales proposal. Don’t miss this opportunity to keep the process moving forward by just saying goodbye after the meal is finished. This is also the time to give them any sales or marketing materials that you want them to take. Giving such items earlier in the meeting can result in them being put aside and possibly left behind. Be sure to have an action item, such as a phone call or email follow-up, decided upon before you leave the restaurant.
These tips for a successful business meeting in a restaurant may seem like common sense, but they really can make the difference between a nice meal and a productive business meeting over a nice meal. Taking the time to be well prepared will make your meeting go a lot more smoothly and be far more productive. Be sure to choose a restaurant that is conducive to discussion. And don’t be afraid to order a tasty cocktail to help keep everything on track! One great benefit of having a meeting in a restaurant is that it can be more casual than a meeting in an office setting. This will allow you to get to know the client better while also furthering both parties’ business initiatives and desired outcomes.