In December of 2009, Robert Half released the results of its study, “The Value Meal.” The leading sentence starts, “CFO Survey Shows it Pays to Take Your Client to Lunch.”
Here is the text of the press release:
Breaking bread, having lunch, with key contacts is good business, according to a recent survey of chief financial officers (CFOs). More than a third (36 percent) of executives surveyed said their most successful business meeting outside the office was conducted over a meal.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
CFOs were asked, “Other than in the office, what was the location of your most successful business meeting ever?” Their responses:
|Trade show or conference||25%|
|In a car||1%|
|On a trip/plane||1%|
|Nowhere else, only in office||24%|
Note: Total does not equal 100% due to rounding
“A well-chosen restaurant can offer a neutral, more relaxed environment than the office, often with fewer distractions,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “Having lunch and sharing a meal with clients or colleagues puts all parties more at ease and helps to establish rapport.”
6 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS MEETING
Mr. McDonald offers the following 6 tips to ensure a successful business meeting outside the office:
- LOCATION. Choose the right location. If you’re planning on a restaurant, select one that is quiet, easy-to-find and provides excellent lunch food and service.
- MENU. Make sure the menu has enough variety to accommodate anyone with dietary restrictions.
- ARRIVAL. Arrive early. Plan on getting to the meeting before your guests so you can select a comfortable spot and be there to greet them.
- SCHEDULE. Stay on schedule. While you want to postpone talking shop until after you’ve ordered, don’t let the meal go on too long if your client has told you he or she has limited time to meet. On the other hand, if things are going well, avoid rushing to get your bill.
- FOCUS. Give them your undivided attention. Never take cell phone calls or check e-mail at the table. As the host, it’s your job to make sure the meeting is productive and on topic.
- MANNERS. Practice good manners. Always treat the restaurant or facility staff with courtesy and respect.
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