Today I read a tweet that sited “Meals Matter” By Jill Jusko of Industry Week. She writes – “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.” http://bit.ly/bJ8uaB
In my travels I really find this to be true, especially so in foreign locals. Yes, we all have to have business meetings with agendas, priorities, take away action plans. But I find the real opportunity to get to really know those that sit across the table from you in that business meeting is when you get them across the dining table. Breaking bread together is as ancient a custom as you can get. You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal with them. Some people loosen up, drop the business persona, and have a good time. They enjoy their meal, share personal stories and let you learn about them from a more social perspective. Others stay more distant and maintain a professional mode the whole dinning affair. Business meetings provide content, but the meal provides context. I usually know after one meal whether I not I want to do business with someone.
So if our paths cross and we get together for a meal what will it be – a glass of wine and a few good stories or just a continuation of the business meeting from earlier in the day?