It may happen routinely, or the occasions may be few and far between, but at some point you will find yourself in a business meeting that occurs over the cocktail hour. Keeping these five things in mind will help you navigate the situation like a pro.
1. Eat something ahead of time. Alcohol on an empty stomach, especially at a business meeting, is not a good idea. Keep crackers or protein bars in your desk in case one of these meetings comes up unexpectedly.
2. Limit yourself to one drink. Even though the meeting is taking place in a relaxed setting, it’s still business and you still need to be on top of your game. If the meeting goes well, you can celebrate with that second drink … after you get home.
3. Select your beverage wisely. Choose a drink you know you can handle. If you’re a white wine spritzer gal, for example, don’t order a martini. It could end badly for you.
4. Consume slowly. If your client is ready for drink number two and your glass is also empty, you may be tempted to order, as well. If your glass is only half empty, a response of, “I’m still enjoying this one, but you go right ahead,” keeps the client happy and you focused on the business at hand.
5. Finally, don’t feel you have to have a drink. Just because a meeting is taking place over cocktails, you shouldn’t feel pressured to partake. Club soda with lime is perfectly acceptable, no questions asked. It doesn’t draw attention, and you can have as many refills as you like.