How to Break Bread Professionally

“Breaking bread” has been one of the most important acts between individuals for thousands of years. Kings hosted celebratory feasts, Christ broke bread with his disciples, and countless families have bonded over home cooked meals. Eating a meal with other individuals is a way of indirectly showing trust and friendship. Because of its importance, it is essential that you maximize your business lunch and dinner experiences. Here are a few suggestions for a successful business related meal:

  1. If you’re on a budget or time constraint, think café style. Look for places that you order your food at the counter and it is brought to you. It is also a quicker experience that allows you to get back to work sooner.
  2. If you’re not in an area that you’re familiar with, that’s okay. You can still find a great place to dine that meets your needs. Look to apps like Yelp or OpenTable that have ratings and reviews from customers on restaurants in your current area.
  3. Don’t be a slob! Avoid messy dishes and remember what your mother taught you. There is nothing wrong with being laid back with other professionals, but do not think that your actions and appearance at lunch will not carry over to the office in their mind.
  4. Don’t rush into business talk. Make sure the person you are eating with knows that you generally do care about them and want to build a relationship.
  5. If you are eating out with several people, try to get a consensus of what everyone is eating around you. Avoid ordering the cheapest meal and try to stay away from the most expensive ones. Let your appearance and personality do the talking, not your entrée.

If you’re not already taking a few meals out of your week to spend with clients or other business professionals, now is a great time to start. Get out there and break some bread!

Get Involved

Getting your business involved in the community has a plethora of benefits, and doing so is relatively easy. Here are five great ways to get involved and the benefits that ensue:

  1. Join the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce offers its members a great way to connect with other respectable members and organizations in the community. It can provide you with contacts that you may not have had otherwise, inform your business of local events, and boost your overall publicity and respect throughout the community. The Chamber of Commerce isn’t always beneficial for every business, but it is worth taking the time to see what benefits it can offer your business.
  2. Become an asset. Start a useful blog or newspaper article. Let the community know that not only is your business capable, but that it is willing to go the extra mile to help them succeed.
  3. Hire an intern. You want great work at a low cost, while college students want experience and a chance to show off their talent. So give them the chance, save yourself some money, and get your business’ name in the collegiate arena.
  4. Look to sports. No matter how large or small your community may be, sports are probably a staple for bringing its people together. Sponsoring a youth sports team is a great way to directly give back to your community, while spreading awareness for your business. This is also probably the safest charitable move for your business. It is hard to argue motives when you are giving back to kids and aiding the local sports community at the same time!
  5. Pick a local charity. If sports aren’t your thing, well that’s fine! There are thousands of great charities out there that you can donate towards. And donating doesn’t only involve money. Many organizations are always looking for volunteers. Volunteering is great because it can typically still be used as a tax deduction, and it is an excellent way to get your employees to come together as a team.

The Breath of Success

What do fame, power, money, winning, or having a nice family with a house and white picket fence have in common? They are all things different individuals use to define success. This success is something that most everyone wants to gain, but few actually obtain. There is an old story about the need for success that has been made somewhat famous in recent years by an amazing motivational speaker Eric Thomas, whom I highly recommend checking out if you ever need some motivation or general life advice. I wanted to share this story with you to not necessarily remind you why you want to succeed, but how much you have to want to succeed to truly become successful.

The story begins with a young man that longs for success. The young man decides to seek the counsel of an old Guru, hoping to gain wisdom on the matter. The Guru instructs the young man to meet him at the beach next day at sunrise. Puzzled, but intrigued, the young man wakes up early to meet the guru at the beach. The first thing the Guru tells the young man to do is to walk out into the water. The young man, baffled, looked at the guru and said, “I’m not here to learn to swim, I want to make money. I asked you to teach me to be successful.” The guru merely nodded towards the water and began to walk with the man out into the waves. As the water reached their necks the guru pushed the young man’s head down below the water and held it there. He held him under water so long the man felt as if he were going to pass out. When the guru then let go, and the man came flaring out of the water gasping, “Are you trying to kill me? I needed to breathe!” The guru smiled, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.”

Become The Head Coach of Your Business

As we enter into October we are now three games into the NFL season, and all three of Florida’s teams have something in common; they all have losing records. Some might blame this on costly injuries or the immaturities of younger teams. But, I believe it is deeper than those deficiencies. A winning team faces adversity and overcomes it because of its strength as a whole. Good players make great plays and good coaches shape great players, while making timely decisions before and during the game. Yes, the final decision to go for it on fourth down, with thirty seconds left on the clock, may be up to the head coach. But, no NFL coach makes every decision without help. They surround themselves with other coaches that they believe know just as much or more about the different areas of the team. They trust them to help their team grow and prosper by listening to what other coaches have done successfully in similar instances.

 As the head coach of your business, it is important to surround yourself with peers that can offer critical advice and solutions to problems you may not have seen before. A peer advisory group improves decision making because your answers will be questioned from other trustworthy C-level executives that have faced adversity before. They can provide hind-sight vision to solutions. You can clarify the direction in which you wish to take your team, short and long term. Finally, a peer advisory group creates accountability. No great coach or business leader has ever had a successful run without being held accountable to the goals they have set for themselves and their team.

Luckily, unlike its football teams, Florida’s premiere peer advisory organization has been consistently winning for over 58 years. Vistage Florida provides the proper tools and coaching for a CEO to lead his or her team into the end zone, by making those critical game changing decisions necessary for the win!