How to Survive: Dinner with your boss
If there’s one person that likes you at the office, shouldn’t it be your boss? Chances are at some point in your professional career you will be invited to dinner with your boss. While we could speculate what the invitation means: are you getting a promotion? Fired? A pay raise? this is not that kind of article. The one thing you must accomplish before receiving any of those things is: survive the dinner. Fortunately for you, we know exactly how.
Looks do matter.
Consider dinner with your boss not only a special occasion, consider it the special occasion; perhaps the one that even changes your fate. So, always dress up, dress to impress, but don’t overdo it. Asking your boss what the dress code is beforehand is acceptable and recommended.
Manners mean everything when it comes to dinner with your boss. How to hold the silverware correctly, where it goes after each bite; you may have forgotten some of the details of proper etiquette, or maybe you were never even taught. Google can be a lifesaver when it comes to manners, and it doesn’t hurt to do a quick search before your dinner of a lifetime. If all else fails, be sure to mirror your boss’ etiquette.
Be on time.
In fact, be even more on time than you would be to work. Its good to arrive a few minutes before your boss because it’s a sign of respect.
To cheers or not to cheers.
It would be rude to turn down a drink from your boss, however it is important to know your limit. Having a few small drinks is acceptable, but you should never try to ‘match’ your boss in drinks, especially if he/ she is a heavy drinker. At the same time, never comment on your boss’ capacity to drink. Lastly, this goes without saying: do NOT get drunk.
Spending an entire meal with your boss can be intimidating, if you don’t know what to say. Talking points is one of the key factors to surviving dinner with your boss. Just like any other ‘outside of work’ function, avoid talking about work, unless your boss brings it up first. Instead, talk about the food, share stories about where the cuisine originated from (this makes you appear worldly), but make sure all comments are in a positive tone. One topic you should always be prepared to discuss is “What could we be doing better?”. You may also ask non-specific questions. This will help build your relationship with your boss.
If you go to dinner a your boss’ house, it is important to bring a small gift, such as a glass of wine, or bread basket. If you dine out, it is helpful to browse the menu before going to dinner with your boss. Your boss will most likely make recommendations, and while you do not have to follow these recommendations to a ‘T’, you should order items that are within a similar price range. Also, avoid large or messy items that may be difficult to eat; no one wants a spaghetti stain while having dinner with their boss.
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