Breaking bread with a client may be a key to business success. According to a study developed by Robert Half Management Resources, 36% of CFOs surveyed said their most successful meetings outside of the office were conducted over a meal. The next-most-popular location was a trade show or conference.
"A well-chosen restaurant can offer a neutral, more relaxed environment than the office, often with fewer distractions," notes Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. "Sharing a meal with clients or colleagues puts all parties more at ease and helps to establish rapport."
Don't just dine anywhere, however, McDonald suggests. Choose a location that is quiet, easy to find and has excellent service, and offers a varied menu to accommodate any dietary needs. Also be sure to arrive early, stay on schedule and give clients your undivided attention. That means no cell phone calls or checking emails at the table, please.