Guess Who’s Coming to Your Dinner Meeting?
If you’ve seen old episodes of I Dream of Genie or The Brady Bunch, you’ll remember there was always at least one episode where someone really important was coming to dinner. And usually if the meal was a success, the male lead would be rewarded with a promotion.
Traditionally, many important business decisions have been made over a good meal and a handshake. And it’s for this reason that so many organizations plan dinner meetings. When you bring your team together over a tasty meal, ideas are more likely to flow and collaboration becomes a breeze.
If you’re new to planning dinner meetings, understand there is more to it than picking out good food. Here are some tips to help your dinner meeting be successful.
Only Invite Necessary People
The wonderful thing about a dinner meeting is that is can potentially have an intimate vibe. You’ll get much more accomplished if the discussion is between, say, 10 people than if it’s between 30. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has said in the past that you should never have a business meeting where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group. Take his advice and ours and keep your group small – you’ll be far more productive. You’ll also find it easier to locate the right space for your dinner if only a handful of people will be coming.
And speaking of…
Choose the Right Space
Where should you have your dinner meeting? Well, that really depends on who will attend, what topics will be covered, and what your overall goal for the dinner is. Some may find ordering pizzas and eating in the boardroom fits their overall agenda. Then again, you might decide to take everyone out to a local restaurant. And still others may want to host the event at their house.
A couple of rules as far as space goes:
1) Have enough of it – space that is.
2) Make sure the environment isn’t so loud that you can’t hear each other speak. If you do go to a local restaurant, see if they have a private room you can reserve.
Have an Agenda
Whoever will take part in the dinner meeting will need to know what the agenda is. What topics will you cover? What goal or outcome do you hope is the result of the meeting? Knowing this information will allow your attendees to come prepared.
Also, let your attendees know what they should bring. Do they need to take notes in a notepad or bring their laptop? If so, keep this in mind when planning where to hold your dinner meeting. Wherever it is, be sure tables have enough space to accommodate everyone’s “stuff.”
Consider Food Options
You’ll want to know what foods your attendees can and cannot eat. Send out a survey before your dinner meeting to get an idea of what menu options people prefer and if anyone has any restrictions (vegan) or allergies. If you decide to eat at a local restaurant, you can send an email to attendees asking if they would prefer Mexican, Steak House or Indian food, as an example.
Confirm with the Restaurant or Venue Beforehand
If you are holding your meeting outside of your office space and not in your own home, you’ll want to reserve tables / space well in advance. You’ll also want to confirm with the restaurant or venue a week before to make sure everything is set. There’s nothing worse than your hungry team showing up on the night of your meeting only to be told there was a mix-up and no tables are available.
Dinner meetings can be a great way to have your team bond and get a lot accomplished. Just be sure to follow these tips so your meeting can be successful. And if you need any help planning your dinner meeting, please get in touch with us.
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