Things to Discuss Over a Work Lunch
Whether you’re meeting with clients, vendors, or colleagues for lunch, you may want to prepare a list of topics and agenda items to discuss. Identifying things to discuss over a work lunch is an essential tool to ensuring that there are no lulls in the conversation. Although you’ll most definitely want to stick to the agenda, you will also want to discuss non business-related items.
Meeting up with clients, vendors, internal or external colleagues for lunch is a great way to network, build rapport, and deepen relationships. The meeting will likely largely consist of business-related items and will stick to a preassigned and preapproved agenda. However, don’t be shy to discuss other items which aren’t related to work. Doing so will help to deepen the relationship and will show-off your personality.
A Conscientious Personality
In 1961 two United States Air Force researchers analyzed personality datasets to five main measures. These personality measures are known through the acronym OCEAN, standing for Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. However, only conscientiousness stood out as the main correlator to success.
Conscientiousness is simply a personality trait of being both careful and diligent. In a corporate perspective, it is the quality of wishing to do one’s work well. Paul Tough, in his book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Power of Hidden Character, states, ““It would actually be nice if there were some negative things that went along with conscientiousness, but at this point it’s emerging as one of the primary dimensions of successful functioning across the lifespan. It really goes cradle to grave in terms of how people do.”
What This Means
In essence, having a conscientious personality is shown as one of the greatest ways to succeed in life. This includes time spent in the classroom as well as in the cubicle. Someone who is conscientious and takes effort to ensure the very best in their work will have a higher likelihood of succeeding, no matter the situation they find themselves in.
Why do I mention this? Simple, by being conscientious of every aspect of a work lunch and predetermining the discussions you would like to have, you place yourself at an advantage. Being diligent, hardworking, determined, and prepared are all characteristics needed to succeed. Although it may be just a work lunch, it is also an opportunity for you to showoff your knowledge, personality, and relationship building skills.
Things to Discuss
Besides discussing the agenda items, you will want to bring up and discuss non work-related topics. You are looking to build a relationship and in-order to build one, you will need to have an understanding of the individuals on a personal level.
However, you don’t want to get too personal. After all, it is still business and you are at work. You want to remain professional and certain topics are faux-pas and show a lack of etiquette. Stick to the below topics and you should remain in a neutral zone, without offending anyone.
- The Weather – the weather is one of the best conversation topics. It affects everyone similarly and can be discussed at nearly any time of the day. You can discuss your personal preferences, how the weather affected your commute or day, and the worst weather you’ve experienced.
- Your Commute – everyone has a commute. Some people’s commutes are easier and others are more difficult. Regardless, commuting is difficult and nearly everyone has some complaint about it. It’s a great way to bond with colleagues by discussing your commute.
- Upcoming Holiday’s – nearly everyone looks forward to the holidays. Whether it’s a religious holiday or not, people enjoy the time off and may have upcoming vacations they are looking forward to. You may choose to refer to certain holiday’s simply as that, without the need to refer to their names.
- Vacations – if you’ve recently taken a vacation or have plans to go on one soon, it’s a great conversation starter. You can talk about your plans and what you would like to do, opening up the conversation for others to discuss recent vacations of their own.
- A Recent Purchase – you may not want to discuss a recent large purchase, such-as a house or car, but discussing new headphones or a new laptop you’ve purchased, and its qualities is a great way to start conversations. Others will also likely have questions or answers depending on the popularity of the item.
- Recent Adventures – It’s also great to talk about recent adventures you’ve had. Whether it was hiking a nearby mountain or kayaking the local river. You don’t want to brag about your recent experiences, but a quick gist will help the conversation get going.
- Other Restaurants – Perhaps above all else, it’s great to talk about other or nearby restaurants you’ve tried. You can discuss when you went, for what occasion, and what you had. You can discuss what you did and didn’t like about it, allowing other members to discuss their recent restaurant trips.