The first rule of thumb when conducting a business breakfast, business lunch or business dinner is to learn to exchange communication.
Use the time to get to know your client or business contact on a more personal level and try to develop communication on an even basis of give and take. As a general rule, the discussion of business transactions should be done later in the meal with the initial contact focused on small talk and warming up to each other. If your meal is rather short, the discussion of business will need to occur more quickly than if the meeting was prolonged over several hours. It is crucial, when facilitating a business lunch or dinner, that you time your transition from small talk to business smoothly. This means, as the facilitator, you must learn to listen for key words in the discussion that will allow you to easily change the subject and move the conversation into your subject of business. While listening for keywords in the conversation, also watch as the other person enjoys their food or drinks and pace yourself according to their pace. In doing so, you are sending the subconscious message of collaboration or teamwork. Of increasing popularity is the use of breakfast meetings, especially before office hours. Because many business professionals seek to make wise use of their time, the breakfast meeting serves as a way to get the most of our the most important meal of the day while starting your day off at a much early hour, say 6am, before the office begins to open and staff arrive. As a sales and marketing professional, using these simple techniques when planning a meeting around a meal, will ensure you are prepared for the transition from small talk to business related subjects. Developing a give and take communication style, being sensitive to the time of the individual you have invited to join in your meal, and offering to hold the meetings early in the day, are all efficient methods to transform the closure of your contracts and bids, successfully, in the most efficient manner possible.