Attorneys are doing less business over lunch than they have in the past, according to a new survey by Robert Half Legal.
About twice a month is the norm, and 56 percent of the 200 attorneys surveyed said business lunches with clients are less common than they were three years ago.
But for those who do meet clients at lunch to conduct business, Robert Half offers five tips to help ensure the meeting goes well.
1. Choose the right restaurant. Choose a restaurant you’re familiar with, is easy to find and has a varied menu. Make sure your choice isn’t so noisy that it’s difficult to hear.
2. Be on time or early. Always be on time, and try to get there early. That way, you can select a table that is conducive to a business discussion and greet your clients as they come in.
3. Get to the agenda. People are busy and can spend only limited time away from the office. While you’ll want to have some personal discussion, steer the discussion to the business agenda once everybody has placed their orders. You want to make sure there’s plenty of time to focus on the purpose of the meeting.
4. Turn off cell phones. Cell phones should be silenced when you enter the restaurant. Aside from being rude, answering calls or checking email during a lunch meeting wastes everyone’s time. As the host, devoting full attention to the conversation is your responsibility.
5. Mind your manners. Few things are more uncomfortable than dining with someone who is condescending to the wait staff. A courteous and respectful attitude puts everyone at ease and sets a relaxed tone for the meeting.