The Pitch Episode 66: Wining and Dining Revamp for the 21st Century
Have rules changed from the extra dirty martinis of 50 years ago? Learn how to navigate today with media, men and tech obstacles.
Wining and Dining Revamp for the 21st Century
Publicist traditionally have a reputation of knowing how to have a good time especially when it comes to wining and dining those whom they are pitching, but have the rules changed from 50 years ago? When I think about wining and dining what comes to mind is a glamorous movie scene with the press agent or corporate executive taking a journalist or prospective client out for a long lunch complete with extra dirty martinis, but this scenario is not so practical in our 21st century. Before you ask the person you are pitching out to dinner or drinks, know your audience. If he or she is a member of the media, ask permission to pay the bill in advance. Most reputable media outlets have rules against this as it’s considered an ethical issue not to accept gifts. This doesn’t mean you can’t still ask them out to get the valuable face time, but do respect their request and pick a place that’s reasonable for bill splitting. If you are female and you are asking a male client or potential client out for wining and dining, do not let him pay for the bill. This is not a dating scenario where the man is expected to pay, it’s a business meeting and if you made the invite you pay the bill in full. As a businesswoman I can tell you this can still be very challenging so have a few tricks up your sleeve to prevent an argument when the bill arrives. I have two go-to moves. The first is to arrive early to the restaurant and hand my credit card to the server with strict instructions to not accept payment from anyone else. If you don’t arrive early enough, my second move is to excuse myself to the ladies’ room, find the server and hand over my credit card so when the bill comes, to comes straight to me. “The Pitch” challenge today: invite one of your professional contacts to a wining and dining experience. Do your homework to make sure the location is memorable by going there in advance to test the food, atmosphere and service. Wining and dining traditionally means you will entertain someone with good food and wine with the objective to do business with that person in the future. But with 21st century technology overload, time crunches and excessive deadlines limiting real human connection, make the goal of wining and dining one of relationship building and not straight selling. Securing valuable face time with current or prospective clientele and media contacts in our fast-paced, technologically advanced world is challenging and takes initiative, but can also more valuable and leave a good impression as fewer professionals are making the effort and time to do it.
Who would be a good person to wine and dine in the next month?
What are three go-to restaurants you have confidence in that will deliver great food and service?
What can you do to make an extra initiative in inviting someone to ensure follow through of the meet-up?