I.M.H.O: You are NOT there for the food

January 24, 2011 at 9:56 am 1 comment

I.M.H.O (In My Humble Opinion) is an ongoing series of posts written by guest authors who have been there, done that…and have great stories to show for it.

The Doctor is in! Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified coach trained in the field of organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy! He has appeared on CNN International, Fox News, Fox Business, Daytime, CBS, and the Bravo Network.

Yes, you might be a starving student and times are tough. I know that, particularly when someone else is paying the bill, it’s hard to resist the temptation to indulge. However, when it comes to the art of the lunch interview, trust me…you aren’t there for the food!

I’ll never forget a lunch I had with a former student of mine. She was a star student from a psychology class I taught. I was very excited to see her as she had recently started her first job out of school. She was just learning the ropes and wanted some advice on how to work in the business world. She was about to teach herself a valuable lesson.

Just a few minutes into the meeting I was quickly reminded of how new she was to this game. When the server came over she promptly ordered the restaurant’s signature “monster” burger loaded with everything… and then some. My immediate thought was “Good grief girl, what are you thinking!” As she was a somewhat dainty young woman, I knew this would present a unique impediment to good conversation. However, I decided to say nothing and let her learn for herself.

Needless to say, when this half-slab of a cow showed up oozing at all sides, her face was overcome with concern. Yes, the kind of concern that would be rather distracting in any scenario, but particularly a business meeting. For the remainder of the lunch the poor girl struggled to battle this hallmark of American fare, desperately trying to protect her white silk blouse. Ultimately, the burger won and the white blouse lost along with any hope of making a good impression. Fortunately, she learned a good lesson in the presence of an ally.

As you head to your next lunch meeting, remember–it’s not about the food, it’s about the conversation. And while this may prevent you from ordering your favorite option on the menu, it will allow you to carry on a conversation.  You know, without your mouth full.

Dr. Woody’s new book, The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy! is now available in bookstores.

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"Eye of the Intern" is a blog written by a variety of interns, students, employers, and Internships.com Team Members.

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