I'm not suggesting that anyone in this fine group of people at DS lack etiquette, but I thought every once and awhile I would drop some hints for those who may need some guidance. Although these helpful tips are directed towards business affairs they also cross over to non-business meetings as well. Get the Invitation Right Lunch with a client, potential business partner or new colleague can often be more productive than an office meeting. Getting out of the office and off the phone creates an environment more conducive to relaxing and candid conversation. When inviting someone to lunch, be respectful of his or her time and position. Who Chooses the Spot? If you're inviting, offer up some suggestions and let your guests pick. If they don't care, it's on you. But make sure to be careful and anticipate their preferences. You don't want to bring a vegetarian to a steakhouse. Time & Place Get there early. Always know the set-up of the restaurant and make sure both the venue and your table are right for your objective. One of my colleagues swears by this rule. If it's a celebratory or casual lunch with people he knows well, he gets a table in a central area, closer to the bar, where it's typically more boisterous. If it's a serious conversation and he wants to get something accomplished, he opts for a quiet table in the corner. When to Talk Business On the golf course, the common rule of thumb is not to get down to business before the fourth hole. At the table, it's a bit more ambiguous. Speaking of Drinks... Sorry, Don Draper--if you're taking clients to lunch and your company is paying, you should probably skip the alcohol. But if your client wants to imbibe, let him order a drink. A good rule of thumb is to let your guests order first, so they're not inhibited by your choice. Handling the Bill There is an art to handling the bill. You want to be graceful about it. When the check arrives, be nimble and reach for it swiftly--but keep looking your clients in the eye if they're speaking. By all means, don't stare at the line items with anything like shock or horror. That said, if there's an error with the bill, excuse yourself to talk to the waiter separately without making your guest feel uncomfortable. And when it's time to pay, act naturally: Don't disrupt the conversation, but make eye contact with the waiter so that he picks up your credit card quickly. Turn Off Your Phone Turn off your phone. Now is not the time to be checking your incoming email or texting your colleague. I've seen some people pick up their phones between courses instead of talking to others at the table. Just don't. Finally ... Have Fun Be yourself! There is a reason you're not in the office. You can accomplish quite a lot with business lunches, but you shouldn't lose sight of why they work so well: When people can relax and have a good time, they're more likely to open up, making it easier to strengthen a business relationship. Oh, and if her nipple pops out of her shirt during the meal don't stare!