Career Consultant Tips: 5 Ways Business Encounters Are Like 1st Dates
Business meetings can be a bit like a first date: checking out your outfit before you leave, nervous energy (maybe even sweaty palms!), and excitement about the future. Great preparation can save you some grief and ensure that you secure a fruitful partnership.
1. Make it Convenient- A man would never ask a woman to take a cab two neighborhoods over to meet for after-work drinks. Similarly, you should never make your prospect go out of his/her way. You are the one in pursuit, whether you’re in sales or not! Choose somewhere close to their business. A healthy distance of 4 blocks or so should keep you far enough away to avoid running into other contacts or competition! You don’t want business talks interrupted by a shark looking to make your business contact CHUM!
Notice how they're both hunched over the table? The above location looks uncomfortable not to mention too public. This may invite colleagues or business competitors to stop and say hello. (photo credit gareth1953)
2. Stick to a "Fail-Safe"- Many a man will tell you they have their tried and true for first date success. Mini golfing, a favorite Italian bistro, and scenic walks: these are all examples of familiar first date outings. Using a location you’ve visited before ensures less surprises pop up. Be aware of the best table for privacy and request it.
3. Know the Menu- Don’t waste time being unsure of what you will order. Also, if you’ve read some reviews about outstanding dishes online, recommend those to your client to help move the meeting along. “I heard the duck is fantastic.” You really did hear about it, well sort of. A baseless recommendation could come back to quack at you.
4. Do Your Business Research- In the same way daters may scan every iota of a “prospect’s” Facebook profile, make sure you are fully briefed for the subject at hand. Chances are, you know what subjects you may fall upon for discussion. Have questions and ideas ready. Regardless, do research on your contact, their business and any changes recently to the field that could impact your relationship.
5. Be Ready to Pick up the Tab- As with the dating world, typically whoever did the asking should pick up the tab. After all, if this is a person important to your network it’s the final way to make a good impression. Science shows (David Kahneman’s Peak-End Rule) that it’s actually the most enjoyable and last moments that count the most towards a successful encounter—think an outing full of blunders but a great kiss at the end of the date.
Exude confidence to the very end, don’t linger and close with a strong hand shake.
Mention that you’ll follow up and DO SO! A thank you email can be sent tomorrow afternoon.