Here are a few tips that will clear your dilemma:
The Boss should take the Initiative
If you are the boss, you should make the payment. That is the rule of the thumb and it is really bad that many bosses don’t follow it. Even if the meeting is with people of other organizations, it is up to the seniors to make the payment. Those who just sit there and wait for someone else to do it are cheap.
Let Others Pay if they Offer to
Sure, the boss has to pay but there are times when someone else offers to pay. In that case, there is no wrong in allowing that person to pay. Be gracious and accept the offer. You don’t need to fight over the bill, seriously. Accepting a gift is a way of honoring the other person. If you really don’t like it when someone pays, make sure you are quicker next time.
Pick the Check if No one Wants to
This is for those who are not leaders. Is there another leader at the table? Is he not picking up the check? Or, is there no leader? Is there no one who wants to pay? Don’t just sit there and stare at each other. Awkward, awkward, awkward! Make the move and pay. If you don’t want to pay the whole thing, split the bill. Now don’t start calculating based on who ate what and drank what. Splitting should always be even regardless of that factor.
Getting a Favor? Make the Payment!
Lastly, if you are being benefited from the meeting, you should be gracious enough to pay. May be someone has accepted to coach you or mentor you. May be someone has agreed to help you with something. In such cases, it is your turn to pay.
A side note/tip: If someone has agreed to help you NOT over a lunch meeting but a casual meeting, don’t ever say something like, “I owe you a meal.” That will actually make the other person feel small. Honor people who help you and do it right.
Hope the dilemma is solved now.
Who should make the payment for a lunch meeting is a huge dilemma. Some people don’t ever want to pay and some others hate it when others pay for them. No matter what your choice may be, there is business etiquette to follow. Follow the rules and avoid awkward situations.
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