Business dinners can be stressful! Even though we are all adults and can get through any situation, most of us have felt anxiety while walking into a restaurant with a potential client or sponsor. And these anxieties have surely caused some quirks and awkward silences.
To reduce stress levels and to make sure you always have an upper hand on the situation, here are some 5 dining etiquette rules everybody must know about:
Don’t Go on an Empty Stomach
These dinners aren’t about the food at all. Some people tend to get emotional while sharing a meal with somebody, but remember that the main goal of this kind of dinner is always business!
Food-lovers must not go on an empty stomach, even if you are having dinner at the most amazing Italian restaurant. Try to have light snacks beforehand so that you avoid fast and aggressive eating.
Additionally, you should never say yes to take-away. Showing signs that you enjoyed the food more than the conversation can be offensive to most. Eat slowly and try not to carried away in the delicious tastes.
Remember The Rule of 4’s and 5’s
Many people are concerned with proper dining etiquettes such as placements of fork, knives, salads, and wines. Even though they can leave quite an impression, you shouldn’t put so much pressure on yourself.
After all, you aren’t dining with the Queen of England. However, there is one rule that can significantly improve your elegancies. Here is what you should do:
Envision the table. Separate it into two sides: left and right. The things that have 4 letters should be placed on the left of your plate: fork and food (salads, bread, appetizers). Those placed on the right have 5 letters: glass (the drinks), knife, and spoon.
Adaps and Show Rapport
Even though these etiquettes can elevate your business dinner to a new level, communication is the key to making it successful. The general rule is that the host dictates the change of events. Hosts pick the restaurant, table, course, and duration.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should suppress your individuality, but you could adjust it slightly to build better rapport. For instance, if the host orders as salad, you should at least opt for an appetizer as well. Don’t order a greasy steak if the other person is having soup.
Leaving somebody to enjoy a course on their own isn’t recommended since it might create some awkward silences and tensions. That is why you should definitely order dessert if the other person showed initiation for it.
Avoid Difficult Topics
Dining with a friend or lover is much less complicated than dining with a business partner or a potential client. Passion flows through everyone’s veins and that is why you should avoid topics on politics, religion, and morality issues.
Keep the conversation simple and focused on your goal. Avoid sounding too formal though, and try to incorporate bits and pieces on daily life. Topics on family, latest news in your common niche, and technological advancements always do the trick.
Also, never criticize the restaurant staff. If the other person is hosting, it might sound offensive and hurtful. Gestures like saying thank you and please will definitely leave the right impression.
Who Should Pay the Bill?
Alas, the most difficult question arises! Who should pay the bill? The answer is really simple! The one that hosts the dinner! If you are the host and your guest insists on paying, try to politely say no.
You could also go to the server and pay the bill in private as soon as you notice that your conversation is about to end. Whatever you choose, make it light and friendly. Getting caught up in quarrels on money can be a deal-breaker.
If you aren’t hosting the dinner and the host doesn’t plan to pay for everything, be prepared to split the bill evenly. Of course, everything depends on your personal connection and the relationship you have already built.