When the power brokers at Pearson, Specter, Litt need to talk business, they powwow over a no-expense-spared lunch. You may not have an unlimited expense account, but you can wheel and deal like the pros with these simple tips.
Don’t order a huge meal -- this is a business lunch, not Las Vegas buffet. Never order food you can’t pronounce, that is difficult to eat, requires a lot of your attention, or squirts, slurps, and makes a mess, e.g.: pastas with sauce, chips and salsa, chili. And skip the salad -- you don’t want bits of leaves stuck in your teeth. Don’t make a million special food requests, which sends the message that you’re super high-maintenance -- if you’re a low-carb lactose-intolerant vegan with a peanut allergy, choose a restaurant that can easily accommodate you (or do everyone a favor and go out for coffee instead).
Mind your Manners
Channel the confidence and class of the Suits gang, and remember to chew with your mouth closed and maintain eye contact. Can you imagine Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) or Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) licking their fingers during a meal? Don’t put your elbows on the table, and try to remember to put your napkin on the chair and not the table if you get up to use the restroom. Always be courteous to your waiter or waitress, and be sure to tip well -- it sends a positive message to your lunch partner, and creates good karma, too.
Go Easy on the Alcohol
The two-martini lunches of yesteryear are no more. It’s best to order a glass of wine, beer, or cocktail only if your lunch partner orders one. If he or she doesn’t drink, stick with water or iced tea. Drink at the same speed as your client or slower -- you want it to last, and you don’t want to give off a vibe that you’re a closet alcoholic desperate for booze. Plus, you don’t want to get too relaxed -- this is not a date, and you need to be on your A-game at all times.
Dress for Success
Keep your outfit simple: there will be enough distractions at the restaurant with the food and other people, so wear something that doesn’t call attention to itself. For women: Make sure not to wear anything too low-cut. Check before your rendezvous that bras straps remain covered and there is no peek under the blazer if you happen to bend to reach for a document in your bag. And if you’re a dude, depending on your business and who you’re meeting, make sure you’re wearing something tucked in and clean, preferably a well-tailored suit.
Wrap it Up
Ever notice that the folks at Pearson, Specter, Litt never waste a minute? It’s all action and drama and sparkling conversation. Bring that ideal to your power lunch, and unless the conversation is flowing like honey, look to wrap things up within an hour. Take a cue from your “date;” ask if he or she is in a rush, or has time for coffee or dessert. Either way, have your credit card ready as the check is delivered and hand it over with a smile after taking a quick glance at the bill.