Last summer the New York Times ran an article “Diplomacy Travels on Its Stomach” describing the U.S. Department of State’s use of dinner as an essential element of their diplomatic efforts. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/dining/secretary-of-state-transforms-the-diplomatic-menu.html?pagewanted=all
In January The Wall St. Journal included an article titled “Diplomacy and Turtle Soup”. It was a review of a new book titled “Dinner and Churchill” tells us that for Winston Churchill meals were not only social occasions but time that he used to “cement alliances and sway opponents.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324734904578241553628357078.html
Dinner and diplomacy, clearly a long standing pairing at the highest levels of government can be an excellent pairing for business too. The next time you think you’re too busy to share a meal with a client, partner, supplier or associate, ask yourself: Would Churchill miss the opportunity? Would Secretary Clinton decline an invitation that will allow her to learn more about the people she must negotiate with?
Be a diplomat. Say “yes” to dinner. See what happens.