Laying the foundation to the start of a life in Australia can be exciting, but you may definitely feel like a stranger in a foreign land as you learn about the different customs and unwritten rules of etiquette. Having knowledge of Australian etiquette in business and social situations, however, is more than just about good manners; it will help you make connections in your new home with neighbours, colleagues and peers. You will appear confident and knowledgeable about norms in your new country, putting yourself and others at ease!
A lunch with a client is never just lunch. A lot of business decisions are made over a meal. Nervous about rules around eating and drinking in a professional setting? Here are some dos and don’ts for a successful business lunch, whether it’s with a client, colleague or potential employer.
- Choose a restaurant or location that is convenient for both of you.
- Make reservations.
- Confirm with both the restaurant and your lunch date a couple of days before.
- Arrive earlier and wait for your party before you take your seat.
- Food is not a priority here; do not experiment on a new or messy dish such as lobster. Order something simple, light and easy to eat.
- Make your client or colleague feel comfortable to indulge in a cocktail or wine, but refrain if they decide to pass. If you’re meeting with a potential employer, don’t drink.
- Wait on the topic of business until you have ordered. Engage in small talk first. This is the opportunity to get to know them, to build trust and improve your relationship.
- No cell phones on the table; do not text or even glance at your phone.
- Be mindful of your cutlery; work your way from outside in toward your dish. Butter dish is on the left and drinks are on the right.
- Put your napkin on your lap, and do not point or gesture with your cutlery. Chew with your mouth closed and no talking with your mouth full. Use your best table manners!
- Pay the bill with your credit card, as it is usually the simplest and most professional looking. Servers will typically ask if you will be splitting the bill.