Doing business over drinks is a great way to socialise in a relaxed and informal setting and allows people to communicate more honestly so both parties can get to know each other.
Drinking as a networking tool
Having a couple of drinks over business definitely loosens inhibitions although it can also be a good conversation starter. You’ll probably notice your choice of wine is a great ice- breaker to get discussion, so to have some knowledge on wine can work in your favor.
Always order a weak drink with soda at a bar when you’re discussing business or limit the amount of wine you drink.
If you arrive early for the meeting. Resist the urge to have few drinks before your client. Do your best to drink about the same rate as the client unless is drinking too much.
How many drinks are appropriate in a meeting?
Having a glass or two could be good for business.
Stay in professional mode even though you aren’t in the office.
Positively or negatively, your conduct after-hours can impact your career. Happy hour is the “perfect storm” where you can make a lasting impression—but it can go either way.
You called the meeting, you get to the bar early.
Even if you didn’t call the meeting, you get there early. Because if you get there early, you begin defining relationships. Not only between you and the people you’re meeting with, but between you and the bar itself: the cocktail waitresses, the bartenders, etc.
Eat before you get there and then again during the happy hour. Peanuts and tapas can be your friend.
Learn to sip rather than guzzle your drink. Pace yourself—it’s not a race!
Don’t follow the leader.
It does not matter how much your boss is drinking or what behavior he or she is displaying, you should be most concerned with your own job and reputation.
Know your limits.
Alcohol lessens inhibitions, decide how much you’ll drink over a specific time frame and stick to it.
Change your drink.
Make spirits into long drinks by topping up with more mixer, add soda water to white wine, or choose shandy rather than beer.
Keep drinking water. Drink water or soft drinks between alcoholic drinks to dilute the alcohol.
Only bring up business after the first drink. You’ve allowed people to relax. You’ve allowed them to get their bearings.
Pace yourself. Slow down and take small sips not big gulps.
Learn the strengths of your drinks so you can stick to your own limits, bearing in mind the safe limits are 2-3 units per day for women and 3-4 units per day for men (but not every day, of course).
Don’t forget your business card!
There is no bigger mistake than forgetting your business card if you’re at a meeting or networking event. Create a good impression with plenty of eye contact and good posture and always remember to give a professional business card to every new contact you make.