Business lunches come in all shapes and sizes, from a department-wide learn at lunch session to a one-on-one interview with a prospective employer. To get the most out of any type of working lunch, you need to know what to expect, and prepare ahead of time.
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Here are three types of working lunches, and how to maximize your time at each:
1. The job interview lunch.
Now is not the time to order anything messy. Skip meals you have to eat with your hands, and avoid sloppy sauces that might wind up on your face or worse, on your shirt. Lunch date rules apply here: don’t drink alcohol, don’t talk with your mouth full, and ask interested (and informed) questions.
2. The lunch and learn.
These events typically feature a speaker, often from outside your department or company, and focus on professional development, skills acquisition, or training. It’s tempting to blow these lunches off, or attend and pay more attention to your food than the speaker. Fight the urge. The skills you pick up for free at these lunches can help you long after your time at the company is up.
3. The working lunch.
Perhaps the most dreaded of all professional lunches, these sessions are a multitasking challenge to say the least. Trying to eat and talk without talking with your mouth full is tricky all by itself.
Ideally, the organizer will send around an agenda prior to the lunch. Pay attention to what’s under discussion, and come prepared to brainstorm or ask questions or take in new information with an open ear.
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