Business lunches provide business opportunities. This is a straightforward statement yet one with important implications.
Take interviewing for a job, for example. Often the second or third interview for a job will occur at a meal. And how you behave at this out-of-office activity can determine whether you get the job offer.
Business lunches can also mend fences. Years ago my mentor told me after a particularly difficult encounter with a counterpart, “When the going gets tough with someone, take the person to lunch.” She was right. I asked the man to lunch and, as a result, we were able to work through our differences outside of the corporate environment.
Lunches can also be acts of kindness. A colleague recently told me that when she was new to a big company, another woman from her department came up to her desk and asked, “You’re new here. Do you want to go to lunch?” They did go to lunch, and it made her transition to the company easier and the beginning of a long-term business relationship and personal friendship between the two women.
As soon as I heard that story I knew it would become part of a blog! What a gracious way to help others. Why don’t you ask someone to lunch when you can?