How You Can Make the Most of a Lunch Meeting To Reach Your Business Goals

Even if you’re a seasoned veteran of the business world, there’s a good chance you may still struggle with professionally handling the business lunch. Although taking a prospective client or partner out to lunch to get to know each other and talk business is a widespread practice, it can still be frustrating, uncertain and even nerve-wracking, especially if you’re inexperienced or unprepared. Fortunately, there are a handful of tips that can help you pull it off, create a strong first impression and eventually achieve your desired business goals. Before you take another client, backer or partner out to a lunch meeting, read through these essential tips.

Make a Strong and Positive First Impression

When it comes to striking a successful deal in the business world, first impressions are everything. If you’re headed to your first lunch with a new prospective client or other business associate, it’s imperative that you act professionally and leave a positive impression. Make sure you:

  • Introduce yourself politely and professionally
  • Defer to the other person when choosing a table to sit at, ordering food first and so on
  • Go in with certain business goals in mind but focus on taking the time to get to know the other person as well

Come Prepared With Key Questions and Talking Points

There’s nothing worse than hitting awkward silences and uncomfortable pauses during a professional lunch meeting, especially since you could be wasting precious pitch time. That’s why it’s so crucial to come prepared with a range of questions and other talking points. For example, you could discuss:

  • Your professional background
  • Your future business interests and any common ground
  • Recent developments in your industry
  • Your company and its unique products

Focus on Being a Good Listener and Great Company

Finally, make sure you don’t hog the conversation or push your business goals too much. Instead, try to relax a bit and focus on being a genuinely good listener. Remember also to:

  • Make direct eye contact
  • Sharpen up your listening skills
  • Work on a firm and professional handshake
  • Ask interesting follow-up questions

For many business professionals, mastering the art of the business lunch can seem like a tricky matter. The good news is that even if you’ve felt nervous or even unprepared at such lunches in the past, you can still sharpen up your game and work towards achieving your business goals by keeping a few core habits in mind. Focus on making a great first impression, come prepared with your talking points and work on being a good listener, and you could potentially turn any lunch meeting into a bona-fide business success.