Some things in life are a big deal- your first job interview, your first car and of course receiving a dinner invitation from your boss.
Naturally, you are a nervous wreck as you count down the minutes to that fateful dinner appointment. You have probably turned your wardrobe upside down, and yet have no clue what to wear. But surely you feel that zeroing in on appropriate clothes is far easier than thinking up conversation topics.
My boss has invited me to dinner. What should I do? That’s your question.
Well, first of all calm down. And follow these tips make dinner with your boss a success.
1. Accept the Invitation
Understand that bosses don’t invite subordinates to dinner just like that (we are not discussing office romances here…so such dinners don’t count). Your boss probably has something important to discuss with you. Something which in his opinion would be best discussed outside the office. So if you are having even the slightest temptation to decline the invitation (because you have something else lined up or because you feel you cannot handle it), squash that temptation right now. In fact the golden rule is that you first accept the invitation and then consult your calendar for the day. Anything clashing can and should be rescheduled.
2. Don’t Corner the Conversation
Often when people are nervous, they tend to babble. That is a big mistake because then you are not allowing your boss get to the point. You are wasting his time and he won’t be happy about it. After initial general pleasantries, wait for your boss to broach the topic he wants to discuss. And rest assured he will. After all he invited you to dinner. And from there on, follow your boss’ lead, giving him information, feedback, suggestions, as required.
3. Don’t Get Carried Away
While meetings outside of office will necessarily be informal, don’t get carried away. Remember you are with your boss and he is there for a specific purpose. Don’t get overfriendly or over familiar. Under no circumstances, discuss colleagues, especially their negative traits (no one is perfect, right?) and steer clear from controversial topics and office politics. But if you get drunk during the dinner you may forget these rules and you may in fact forget what you did say too. So avoid alcohol during dinner or keep it very minimal if unavoidable.
4. Don’t Fumble on Restaurant Etiquettes
Has the boss invited you out to a restaurant? Follow these etiquettes without fail. Let your boss order first. Order something in the same price range or even lower. Order food that is not too messy. You don’t want to be paying more attention to the food than to what the boss is saying. The important part of this dinner is not the food, but the conversation.
It is OK to let the boss pay. He invited you and he makes more than you. Don’t embarrass him (and yourself) by offering to pay.
It is just a dinner, not the end of the world. And you are a grown-up, you can handle tough work situations, negotiate hard-as-nails with vendors, then why fear a simple dinner.
Follow these tips and make the most of your dinner with the boss. You can do it.