Business meals can be a maze full of traps for the uninitiated, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to view it in a horrified manner. For one thing, proper manners and dining etiquette already accomplishes half the job. You’ll want to get that up and going if you’re seeking to leave a good impression and establish a long-lasting relationship with others.

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Setting the Right Agenda

Don’t leave your business dinner to luck, especially when you have a lot riding on it. Be prepared by knowing what the agenda is and determining how you’ll go about the entire evening. Are you looking to socialize and get to know someone else better? Or maybe you’re in the last stages of hammering out the details to seal a business deal? Once everybody is on the same page, things will go a lot smoother.

It’s Still Work

Your workday can end usually on normal days, but when it comes to a business dinner, you need to get into your professional work mode. In other words, get comfortable to put the other party at ease, but don’t forget your ultimate goal of having a meal with them in the first place. Also, as much as you want to enter a happy hour stage, put it off till you’re done with the meal.

The Food is Secondary

Hearing a growling stomach at the dinner table can be pretty amusing, but if the only thing that catches your attention is the plate in front of you, you’ll have lost the meaning of the business dinner in the first place. Eat a little something before the actual meal to stave off hunger. Also, avoid ordering messy foods as that can cause more anguish than you can imagine.

Get Ready to Talk

During a business dinner, you’ll want to show a genuine interest in others by knowing what to ask and the right time to do so. Communication is key, and with that being said, you’ll also need to have a broader knowledge on a wide range of general topics to keep everything flowing. Pick a few things to update yourself on and bring them up at the table at the appropriate time.

Take Note of Your Body Language

Don’t let your body language betray you. In the first place, slouching shows disrespect for others at the table, and you’ll definitely want to avoid that. Sit straight and look at those you’re talking to or listening to. Other table manners will also apply, such as keeping your elbows off the table, not talking with a full mouth, and avoiding pointing your utensils at others.

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