Conversation Prompts for Business Dining

Aug 07 2019

Team business travel presents a rich opportunity for strengthening connections, building rapport, and boosting morale and productivity long after the trip ends. Much time, thought, and expense goes into setting the agenda and planning logistics. Advance consideration of the interpersonal dynamic during social/dining times can help insure a trip’s success.

Building Brave Expert Susan Mikulay

Susan Mikulay

Building Brave Expert and Communications Consultant Susan Mikulay shares tips for a successful business dining conversation:

DO

Stay positive. Getting away from the office should count as a perk of the job, and an evening out with coworkers should be viewed as a unique and enjoyable experience. 

Ask about children and schools. Depending on how long your team has worked together, you may already have this information, but asking for an update on classes, grades, college plans, etc. makes a good ice-breaker. 

Inquire about vacation plans or recently completed trips. This topic presents an excellent opportunity to learn more about the interests and likes of your team. Make this fun by asking the assembled group to each name their #1 bucket list vacation spot and why. This often brings a lot of laughs to the table.

Tell the group to name their favorite book and why. This conversation carried on late into the evening and was a fabulous night for all of us as we discussed authors, book genres, etc.

AVOID

Steer clear of religion and politics. Shut it down if someone else brings up these topics.

No venting or rants. People shouldn’t use work trips to talk about personal issues with their spouse or other family members. Neither should these outings become an opportunity to bash or gossip about co-workers or superiors not present. You have a responsibility to steer the conversation away from these delicate matters, should they arise.

Curating conversation with intention helps create a respectful, welcoming environment in which you and your coworkers can relax and enjoy good food and great company.

Download Building Brave’s Mobile Mentoring app for more advice from professional women at all ages and stages. Get guidance for your specific situation, or consider fresh voices and perspectives.


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About the Author

Meghan Wollack

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