Reality check time: in today’s fast-paced world, business meals are a part of life. Clients are busy, so if you want to work with them, you may be squeezing in a conversation over lunch. Maybe they’re only in town for a short period of time, so you have to mix contract talks in with dinner. Even if you don’t talk about specific business items at a meal, relationship building is a vital part of networking, which paves the way for future opportunities.

Welcome to modern day multi-tasking, where –in addition to your actual job title – you could be called on at any time to be an event planner as well. Trouble is, they didn’t have a Business Lunch 101 course in school, and this is no time for trial and error.

Don’t panic. Here is a quick checklist you can use to ease some of those immediate jitters.
-what is the purpose of the meal?
-who are you going to invite and how?
-location?
-budget?
-menu?

Once you’ve taken a few moments to think about those things, you’ll be able to move forward with planning the event. That can even be a bit of an exercise in networking – reach out to people you know for restaurant recommendations, for instance. In our courses at Social Graces, we teach some of the finer points beyond the initial checklist, and clients say they get more and more comfortable with the details as they continue to use the skills they have learned. Some tips you can apply right away!

Take control of your next business meal by executing your event plan flawlessly. It will set you apart in the office as someone who can be trusted with important tasks, and clear your mind so you can stay focused during the meal itself. Then get ready to use your event planning skills again – when you celebrate your promotion or landing that big client for the company.

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