How do you "business meeting"?
July 10, 2011 5:44 AM   Subscribe

How does one go about doing a business meeting in a city? (specifically NYC) I'm meeting some potential employers for the first time, not sure of what protocol is...

Some background: I'm 18, un-practiced in the finer arts of lunch meetings, and I'm going to be meeting some potential employers in Manhattan to speak about me potentially joining their company- exciting stuff.

Now they are visiting from Silicon Valley, so it's not like I'm going to go into their company's office. They said they wanted to get lunch- how does that work?

How is a place figured out? I'm from a little upstate, but spend time in the city, am I expected to perhaps suggest a place? How do we meet? Should I linger outside and wait for them? Check in? What if they're checked in first?

I am nervous to the point of retardation. Simple facts from the hivemind will help. Thank you.
posted by ejfox to Human Relations (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It's not that hard. First, ask them if they have a favorite place, or some place that they've been dying to try.

If not, then you (as the quasi-local) should suggest one that is not too formal but not too casual. You also want to pick someplace that is not too loud, so that you can have a conversation without yelling. If possible, pick a place that you have gone to before, or that a friend has gone to, so that you have a sense of the ambience. Don't pick a place sight-unseen based on a restaurant review. Take into account the dietary issues of your dining companions, if you know them. If you don't, then pick a place with a reasonably broad menu that can accommodate vegetarians, vegans, etc.

However the restaurant is selected, you should offer to make the reservations. (If you're choosing the place, be sure it's one that takes reservations. You don't want to queue.) An email to your guests with the name/telephone number/address of the restaurant and time of the reservation would be nice, just to make sure that there's no confusion.

They won't check in first, because you will get there 10 minutes before the reservation. (Another great reason to pick a place you know is so that you don't get lost.) I generally wait at the front of the restaurant, though there's nothing wrong with going to the table if you're early. (Don't order anything, just drink the water.) If you do go to the table, make sure that the host knows that's what you've done, so that the other people aren't waiting for out out front. If they're not there after 10 minutes, go to the front to see if the host has screwed up.

Not that hard at all. Good luck.
posted by hawkeye at 6:06 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Trust me, these people spending money to fly across the company are NOT depending on you, an 18 year old high school student that they have never met, and who doesn't even live in the city where they're meeting, to coordinate this meeting. Executives also don't fly across the company to meet just one 18 year olds (unless you're some kind of wunderkind), so you'll be one of multiple meetings for them.

Someone is going to tell you where to meet them (i.e. at a restaurant, or at an office/meeting space, or at a meeting room they've rented in a hotel), and you just need to show up, as prepared to talk as you'd be for any other interview.
posted by Kololo at 6:08 AM on July 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you're going out for lunch, the emphasis is on how you interact as people, in a social environment. Sure, you may discuss some business stuff, but if this were a typical interview, you'd be in an office conference room. It's lunch, remember that you are ask there primarily to fulfill a biological need. But beyond that, hawkeye pretty much nailed the finer points.
posted by holterbarbour at 6:13 AM on July 10, 2011

Standard advice is not to order anything that takes a lot of chewing.
posted by jgirl at 6:26 AM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Google "lunch interview." There are tons of helpful advice articles/blogs/etc. I'm not saying this to avoid answering the question, but because this sounds like a lunch interview; if you're out there searching for "business meeting," you might not find anything helpful.

They will pick a place for lunch. Order something that's easy to eat without making a mess. They will pay.

My thought on how you meet is when you get there, ask if they're checked in, and if they're not, wait in the front/hostess/etc. area for them to arrive. That's if they tell you to meet them at the restaurant. There's a good chance they're going to tell you to meet them at some kind of office space, and you can go together from there.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:17 AM on July 10, 2011

They will suggest a restaurant for lunch. If they don't, you can suggest a place that is nice but not over fancy; I'm sure MeFi will have suggestions. Find out from the folks who's name the reservation is under.

It is essential that this place have reservations/a host(ess). When you get there, ask the host if the Whater Party has arrived. If they have, go meet them. Walk up to the table with the host and say "Hi, I'm EJ, glad to meet you!" Shake hands with everyone. If they have not, the host will seat you at the table (waiting at the bar is not a good option at 18.) When they arrive, stand up and shake hands with everyone, then sit down again.

If for some reason this all doesn't work out (ie, they are lost or very late (+15 mins) or whatever) you can ring a cellphone to ask "Is everything OK with you guys? Do you need some help finding the place?"
posted by DarlingBri at 8:37 AM on July 10, 2011

Find out where they are staying, and suggest a place there or near there. If you set lunch in a restaurant in a hotel, you can always use the hotel lobby for the meeting, or continuing the meeting after lunch, as needed.
posted by yclipse at 9:44 AM on July 10, 2011

Can a friend of your parents, someone corporate whom you don't know well, help you do a practice run in your hometown before the big day? This will help. My husband and I have both participated as the "interviewers" in a program for high school students to gain work skills and practice such things. It's actually pretty fun for us and we like helping out.

(Also, when I was in law school they were still putting us through practice interviews ... it's a common practice, a smart tool, and there's no shame in it!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:33 AM on July 10, 2011

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