Yes, bar etiquette. And why not? If you’re like many professionals in the meetings and events industry, you end up in a bar at the end of a business meeting, trade show or industry conference. When you’re in business-social situations, you’re still making impressions. Don’t let rudeness rule your thirst. ¶ Here are some simple bar etiquette rules that allow you to drink with decorum:

» Have a go-to drink so you’re always ready to order. Making your companions or clients wait while you study the drink menu or quiz the server on wines is not “cocktail courteous.” A go-to drink doesn’t have to be fancy. A glass of pinot, vodka and tonic, or a beer is simple and easy for your bartender to execute.

» Be patient. If there’s a line, lean in to the bar or grab a seat, keep your arms and hands visible, use eye contact and smile. Never whistle, snap your fingers or wave your money to get the bartender’s attention.

» Never ask the bartender to “give you a good pour.” It’s tacky and also risky for the bartender, who could lose their job if they do.

» If you’re a regular, tip a little more than you should (20-25 percent). You’ll be well taken care of on future visits, and that will help when you have clients to impress. » If you want to buy someone a drink, give them a heads up or ask their permission. It’s not the bartender’s job to do your prospecting for clients or dates.

» Don’t argue with the bartender about a tab. Consider the amount of money at stake—probably not a huge amount—and the impression you will make on your client, guests or other patrons.

» Clear your tab before meeting friends or co-workers. It’s not fair to ask them to split the check when you’ve had a head start.

» Keep your suit jacket on. It will look like you’re in control (picture the loosened tie and unbuttoned shirt collar of someone who’s had one too many). For women, watch how you sit on a bar stool. It’s not easy, but maintaining a proper pose will look like you’re in control.

Now you’re ready to enjoy libations and laughter (not at you, of course). Cheers!

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