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The Business Lunch: 5 things that professionals must know

Lunching with your colleagues can be very tricky. It brings out your personality on the dining table in front of your clients, bosses or co-workers. Of course, it is a completely different scenario when you’re hanging out with your friends. But when out with colleagues, you tend to forget your table manners.

The most important thing to remember, says career coach Barbara Pachter, is that you’re not there for the food. You are there for business.

Here are some dining etiquette that every professional should follow:

Get there early
If the meeting is to get you a new client, new idea for your business, then get there first! Grab a peaceful corner with a good view, familiarize yourself with the menu card, take time to settle yourself till the client arrives. Especially if you’re the host, then getting there early would be a gesture of welcome for the guest.

Eyes off your mobile device
It is very rude to keep a constant check of your mobile while someone infront of you is addressing you. If your phone is right there on the table, then every message would tempt you to check your phone. It will be

1276885661cute-women-having-lunchdistracting for you and other clients or colleagues on the table.

“Checking messages is disrespectful and sends a message that there’s somebody and something more important than your boss,” says Stephen Begley, president of Begley Consulting, who’s worked on business etiquette with Google and Jamba Juice execs.

Always make use of the napkin
First thing you need to make sure is to have the napkin placed on your lap when the food arrives. The napkin should only be used for blotting the sides of your mouth. When you’ve finished eating, then don’t dump it untidily on the table. It’s better to fold it neatly and slide it under the plate.

Do not use it as a tissue paper, if you need to blow your nose, then excusing yourself to the bathroom is a good idea.

 Don’t eat like a kid
It looks decent when you slice the chicken with the fork and a knife. Don’t stuff everything in your mouth at once. Wait for it to finish then take a bite. Eating hastily will give the look that you have been really hungry, and you’re

Female hands with a dinner at restaurant.more interested in eating rather than listening. Make sure to keep your pace slow as you go and keep it along with your business partner or clients.

Skip risky and tricky foods
Order something that is easy to eat and not so messy. Something that spoils your hands or mouth will not be a good idea. Imagine you’re trying to make an important point and the food gets stuck in your teeth! How embarrassing, no? So it’s better you avoid taking the risk during a business lunch. Save it for lunch with friends or family.

Face-to-face time with your coworkers, boss, clients, and even just a new connection is super important—it can make a big difference in your career.

And don’t forget to offer your guest a cup of coffee or dessert after a meal. Have a good time!

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Written by HerCareer is a career community of women seeking consult, inspiration, and the tools needed to succeed in the workplace.