business meal follow-up

thank-you notes

A note sent by the guest serves as a thank-you for the meal and an enjoyable time, as well as a confirmation of any decisions that were made. The host should also write, telling the guest how nice it was to dine with him or her and briefly recapping any business details. A follow-up phone call by either party could be made instead, but a note has two advantages: 1) it doesn't interrupt the other person's day, and 2) it comes across as warmer and more gracious.

A sample thank-you letter for a breakfast or lunch meeting:

Dear Kathy,

Thank you for arranging our breakfast meeting this morning! I appreciated your being so well prepared and giving your helpful comments and suggestions for content. I'm thrilled to be working with you and Robin. Together we'll have a very successful June seminar.

Thank you for asking me to be the featured speaker.

Very truly yours,

Elizabeth Winters Professional Speaker

reciprocating with an invitation

Inviting someone to a business lunch, dinner, or breakfast does not always mean they are obligated to reciprocate.

You are not expected to repay an invitation to a strictly-business meal (especially one charged to an expense account), no matter who invited you - a customer, a client, or your boss. But you may certainly do so if you have continuing business together.

A client who is entertained by a salesperson or supplier is not expected to return the invitation, even if his or her spouse or family was invited.

Do return social invitations from coworkers and other business associates, whether they've extended the hand of friendship, to cement a business relationship, or you simply enjoy one another's company away from the office.