Dinning etiquette can vary depending o where you come from.
Different people have different kinds of etiquette especially when it extends to business relations.
You might find yourself in fear, wondering what your business colleague will think about you because all you want to do is impress him or her so its important to know the necessary tips so that you will be comfortable and courageous enough to discuss business.
Note that the key to any successful business negotiation while in a foreign country is respecting their culture and values.
Business lunch etiquette tips in Spain.
At the end of the day, lunch is basically a lunch but what makes it different is how you interact with the person you’re having lunch with (Hope I’m not confusing you with this).
Here are some of the things you need to concern yourself in order to improve your business lunch:
1) Greeting a Spaniard
Most Spaniards kiss on both cheeks.
If it is your first time to meet your Spanish counterpart, do not kiss them.
A hand shake should be appropriate not unless they initiate the kiss.
Use the words “Senor” or “Senora” when addressing a man or a woman respectively as this will indicate common respect which will surely be appreciated.
2) Business meetings.
Spaniards like building social bonds first before discussing any business matters.
Do not be in a hurry as they are known for lengthy negotiations.
In case any questions about your family life are asked, be accommodating and answer them truthfully.
Spaniards like to know if they can trust you.
This gives them confidence to do business with you.
They also do not give much importance to written agreements that’s why they like building a relationship first.
Do not stick to your business principles so much, instead show flexibility in order to accommodate their suggestions for the agreement to take place.
3) Business meals.
Make sure you inform your Spanish counterpart that you will be having a meeting over lunch in advance.
Most Spaniards like going home for lunch.
Meal time is not considered as time to close deals but rather it’s their best time to relax.
Normally most of their deals are made in the office then celebrated later in restaurants.
Arrive at the venue at least 10 minutes earlier, you don’t ever want your colleague to arrive earlier than you.
4) Opening up the conversation
Spaniards love conversations so make sure you engage them.
If you are a woman and they complement you on your looks, do not take it offensively.
You could choose to complement them too if you wish.
Do not bring up topics on stereotypes to avoid any chance of annoying your counterpart.
5) Who settles the bill?
If you invite your Spanish counterpart for lunch, you should know that you will foot the bill.
If you were invited first, consider reciprocating the invitation at a later date.
You do not want to be the person who never invites their business associate.
Spaniards are known for giving tips so in case you are happy with the restaurants service, consider leaving at least a 15% tip (Yup, it’s higher than the 10% tip in the US)
Table Manners Tips You Should Know Of.
Like many other cultures, there are table manners that they do differently.
Japanese would burp after they finished eating to show satisfaction, French would say “Bon apetit” and Spanish?
Well here’s what you should know about Spanish table manners:
- Wait for the host to say “buen apetito” before you begin to eat.
- Bear in mind that a knife should be on your right hand, and the folk on the left hand. Do not try to switch them for any reason.
- Laying both the knife and fork down for some time indicates to the waiters that you are through with your meal. They will take away the plate from you. However, if you lay your cutlery on either side of your plate, it shows you that are still eating.
- Ensure you pass all foods to your left.
- Your hands should be visible when you are not holding any cutlery.
- Always know that the most honored guest seats at the head of the table.
- Your eating pace should be moderate, so you will both finish eating almost at the same time.
Things to Avoid on Your Business Lunch.
I think these are pretty self-explanatory but in case you didn’t know, here are some of the things you should not do lest you risk upsetting your counterpart:
– Tasting food from someone else’s plate.
– Smoking at the table.
– Seasoning your food before tasting it.
– Chewing with your mouth open.
– Talking even when your mouth is full.
– Blowing your nose at the table.
– Putting more food in your mouth than your mouth can handle.
– Coughing without covering your mouth with a napkin.
Pay attention to what your Spanish counterpart says during the negotiations as this will help you understand what they mean.
Spaniards have a habit of saying things are fine even when they are not (Don’t we all?).
You should appear competent and intelligent during the negotiations to determine if your counterpart is sincere.
They are also known to be reluctant in giving bad news.
Business lunch etiquette is important as it can help an entrepreneur win over their counterparts due to their good conduct.
Although it may just be a normal lunch, some people take that seriously as a chance to evaluate your worth so do remember to impress them because that is what will determine your future business venture.