The holidays are here. A time of great food and good cheer. And a time to remember our manners.
1. Dress Professionally. It doesn’t always mean a suit, but clean and neat is necessary. Tip: Dress like the people you are going to meet. If you are attending a meeting on behalf of your client, ask if they have a dress code.
2. Arrive on time. Arrive 10 minutes early. If you are meeting for lunch, let the people know that if you arrive early you’ll get a table. Have cell phone numbers in case you are running late.
3. Have a clear agenda on what you want to accomplish with your meeting. It doesn’t need written down, although that’s a good idea.
4. Schedule as much time as you need and don’t short yourself. Allow at least one hour for a one to one meeting.
5. If you are the one who did the asking, offer to pay for the meal. The other person may say, “Dutch treat is fine.” If doing separate checks, say so when you are ordering.
6. Order food you are comfortable eating.
7. Do not order alcohol at lunch.
8. Remember all those things your mother tried to teach you as a child about chewing your food. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Butter your bread one bite at a time. Cut your meat two bites at a time. Don’t shovel your food; it’s not a race.
9. Remember that meeting a new or possible client for the first time is a lot like a first date.
10. Keep the table as clear as possible when you are eating.
11. Once the person you are meeting has arrived, put your cell phone on mute and put it away.
12. Keep the lunch conversation professional, but light. This is Pittsburgh. You don’t have know the winning play, but at the very least know the score.
13. Remember that a meeting is a conversation, not an interview
14. Listen to what other people are saying. Try not to formulate your response while they are responding to your questions.
15. Follow up with a Thank you note. Handwritten is best. Use a “fun” stamp.
Mary Pam Kilgore, CMP, helps corporations and nonprofit organizations serve their target market with effective meetings and events. She is the owner of Kilgore Business Services, LLC,www.kilgorebusiness.com and teaches Event Planning As A Career at CCAC. She may be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo from PhillipC