3 Keys to Using Dinner as a Marketing Tool

Written on April 1, 2017 at 7:56 am

Dinner parties are on the decline in Washington D.C., says Washington Post columnist, Lea Berman, in her column titled “Fewer Dinners means Meaner Politics.” Berman says of the Obama administration, “Washington doesn’t go to dinner anymore and it’s bad for the country.”

I agree with Berman: selling ideas and persuading over wine and a home-cooked meal changes someone’s outlook faster than a dozen phone calls. I still admire President Obama and his talented wife, but I wish they entertained more. A delectable dinner is a persuasive marketing tool. I’d love to have Barack and Michelle over for my summer specialty: barbecued Asian flank steak, curly slaw and key lime pie– and talk to them about dinner parties.

Like Berman, I believe when you sit across from each other for two hours talking and eating, friendships deepen. You learn things. Sometime you change someone’s mind. The only problem is, there’s pressure connected to entertaining, so here’s how to keep it simple and fun:

1. To eliminate anxiety, prepare easy dishes you know taste good. If you’re at a loss, here is a sample menu: Grilled Asian Flank Steak, sweet slaw, mashed potatoes, green beans, french bread, Pinot Noir and easy key lime pie. It isn’t all about the food anyway, it’s the conversation and time together.

2. When people don’t know each other well, dinner conversation can stall on pets, travel or children. Fine for a while, but as the host, you have the responsibility to keep it lively. If conversation lags, I like to pose a few “Vanity Fair” questions. The last page of the magazine always features an interview with a celebrity and the questions are conversation starters, like ‘What is your idea of perfect happiness?’

3. Don’t worry about cleaning the house. Just tidy up the two or three rooms your guests will see. When everyone’s left, soak your dishes and head to bed. You brought people together to eat, talk and laugh. You rock!

Dinner photo by the Crook Family, Dishes by JKonig

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Maureen Fischer is a freelance copywriter and content marketing specialist. As a former journalist with United Press International and an award-winning copywriter, she can tell your story in engaging and original ways.

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