A business dinner or lunch is a great way to get to know others in a more intimate setting.

It also provides a snapshot into an individual’s style when dealing with the public, treatment of co-workers, employment of (or lack of) common courtesies, and how others receive and perceive you.

Sometimes, in an effort to impress, an employee may talk shop to the boss or to anyone who will listen.  This may not be the time. Understanding the purpose of the dinner is important and can provide you with parameters and also afford you the opportunity to come prepared.  If you don’t know, ask!

Is the dinner or lunch to get to know fellow employees better or is it to discuss a prospective client or business deal?

Take your boss’s lead.  Allow him or her to direct the flow.  Light conversation and banter normally take place before getting down to serious business discussions.

During your business dining, know when to talk shop and when not to.

Know the difference!