Written by (作者): Dan Furman
Photos by (图片来源): entrepreneur.com, reference.com
Usually when I write an article for Ningbo Focus, I like to stay somewhat within the theme of the issue, and give a business twist to it. I always hope that’s somewhat interesting, especially since I am an American, and can bring a western point of view to China’s readers.
This issue is about food and dining, and that presents me with a small problem – since I don’t live in (or anywhere near) Ningbo, how can I really talk about local establishments, dishes, or anything similar? Truth is, I can’t. But here’s what I CAN talk about – how to have a successful business dinner!?As I stated, being from the USA, I do have an American-oriented take on this, and may be?unfamiliar with some Chinese customs. But we do a lot of business over dinner here in the?states, and here are a few pointers that I always follow.
Make Sure Your Guest Likes the Menu
We all have different tastes, and a cosmopolitan city like Ningbo attracts many out of town visitors. It also has a wide array of eateries with diverse menus. So make sure your guest likes the type of food at whatever establishment you pick. Or better still, pick an establishment that offers a wide variety of?dishes. There’s nothing worse than taking a guest to an all seafood restaurant, and they don’t like seafood.
Keep Drinks to a Minimum
Drinking can be very common at business dinners – indeed, many negotiations are discussed over a cocktail. But my advice is to keep drinking to a minimum. In terms of business, nothing good happens after the third drink. You’re much better off with a clear head, both tonight and the following morning.
Be Mindful of Rank
While it’s true that many business meals can be seen as informal, the business “chain of command” still applies. If you are a junior executive, dinner out with senior management is NOT the time to try and impress anyone. You’ll impress everyone more by being mature and respectful, and a good dinner companion.
Dan’s Rule – The Host Pays
It’s my town, I am the host, and you are my guest. Therefore, I want to pay. This rule can be a little flexible however – sometimes a salesperson is seeing a client, and even though the client is the host, the salesperson may want to pay as a “thank you for your business”. But in general terms, I always feel the host should pay.
If You Are the Host, and the General Menu is Acceptable, Make a Recommendation if You Wish
If you have a favorite dish (let’s say a steak), and your guest likes steak, by all means, offer to take charge and make a recommendation. It leaves a favorable opinion, and your favorite dish might become someone else’s. Eating out is very important to us here in the states, and taking business colleagues to?dinner is always seen as a warm gesture that solidifies relationships, and builds new ones. And Ningbo’s finest eateries await you and your colleagues.
To your success!
Dan Furman is an American copywriter and?business expert, and works out of his home?in upstate NY.