You did it. You accepted a business colleague’s invitation to “discuss over drinks.” Or, perhaps, you issued the invitation. Well, now what? We’re here to help. Below, fair actors, you will find a crafted script for conducting business in a bar.
Act One: Set the Scene
You enter a professional and sleek hotel lobby bar, local eatery, or a neighborhood dive bar that provides enough of a family-friendly atmosphere that parents can take their children there to eat chicken fingers before sundown, sans smoke clouds and shame.
Browse for your colleague. If it’s just you two meeting, enjoy yourselves wherever you’re most comfortable whether it be on the bar top or at a nearby table. If the number of persons at this martini themed meeting exceeds two, avoid sitting at the bar like Bill Clinton avoids talking about his interns, as either scenario is conducive to a lack of eye contact and lots of uncomfortable body language.
Act Two: Present your Character
You order your drink swiftly and politely. Hesitating to rack your brain for what your mom’s uncle drinks at Thanksgiving or to scan a menu kills the momentum. You wouldn’t hesitate in the boardroom, so don’t do it in the bar. Pick something that you enjoy (or at least can tolerate) that will not distract from the reason you have joined with your colleague(s).*
Be sure that you are mindful of how you are treating the waitstaff, bartenders, valet, shoe shine, etc. Be kind and appreciative. For tonight, these people are your assistants and your treatment of them will not go unnoticed by your colleague(s), so make it count.
Act Three: the Plot
Once your order has been placed, forget that you’re in a bar. Steer the conversation toward the business at hand. Setting the tone as professional and productive from the beginning is key. It neutralizes any awkward tension that might arise from the setting, and also allows for the best chance at productivity! (The second reason you’re there is undoubtedly for free bar pretzels).
Now sit up straight, make eye contact, and sell some TONER! (Or whatever other good/service you represent).
Do not have more than two drinks, even if your colleague(s) order upwards of two. The third drink at a business meeting is like running with the bulls. You know people have done it and lived, but your fate has yet to be tested. Now is not the time to test it.
Act Four: Resolution
Business conversation is winding down. You have discussed what is necessary and it’s clear that now would be an appropriate time to leave. Should business have worked well in your favor, offer to pick up the tab. If business didn’t work out in your favor, offer to pick up the tab. It’s not a national secret that people universally appreciate having their drinks paid for, and if you can manage to, you should do it. If your colleague(s) decline your offer, don’t argue.
Settle the bill, shake hands, and head out. END.
We hope this form of “discuss over drinks” leads you to an encore performance.
Break a leg.
Brought to you by Goza Tequila
*If you are not a drinker, order something non-alcoholic with confidence and zero apologies. You are not there to explain your personal preferences or relationship with alcohol. If commentary of your choice not to drink has been mentioned, be a good sport, but don’t feel the need to play ball and explain something that is so personal.”