How to Write a Business Email to Set Up a Lunch Meeting
By Nicole Vulcan
While it might seem like a no-brainer, there's actually some art to setting up a business meeting via email. If you plan to include lunch with your meeting, you'll have a few more things to consider. The basic idea here is not to overthink it and waste precious work or personal time with the details -- but at the same time, you'll want to keep the other person's needs and motivations in mind.
Write a relevant piece of information in the email's subject line, which indicates that the email is an invitation for lunch. Do not use annoying all-capital letters or emoticons in the subject line -- or anywhere in business communication, for that matter. Instead, state your purpose clearly and professionally; for example, you could simply type "Lunch meeting Wednesday?" or something similar.
Begin with a cordial and professional greeting. If you're on a first-name basis with this business contact, it's OK to address the person by his first name in the greeting, such as "Dear Scott," or simply "Scott:". If you don't know the person very well, use the last name and "Mr." or "Ms."
State that you'd like to meet the person for a lunch date, then say why you want to meet.
Provide a few options for the date and time, based on your knowledge of the person's schedule. If you're meeting a restaurant owner whose restaurant offers a special deal on Fridays, for example, don't ask him to meet on a Friday. Tell the person the days and times you are available, offering a few days or times to choose from. You can also leave the date and time to the discretion of the other person -- but doing so may mean more emails back and forth to actually decide on a mutually-convenient date.
Suggest a few restaurants that you feel are appropriate for the type of meeting you are going to have. For example, if you have serious, intimate details to discuss about the person's business, it's probably a bad idea to suggest meeting at the local pub where all of his friends regularly gather. In the same way you suggested several dates and times, suggest a few places to give the other person the chance to choose.
Let the recipient know his next steps, as well as any details he may want to know about your follow-up. If you have to hear back within a certain time frame in order to be able to keep your schedule free, tell him so in a courteous manner. If you're going to be out of town for a few days following the email, let him know that you'll get back to him when you return.
Sign off in a cordial manner, such as "Sincerely," or "Regards." If your emails do not have an automatic signature line attached that provides your contact details, be sure to provide your phone number and any other important contact information at the bottom of the email.
- Keep the body of the email short and sweet. Businesspeople get a lot of emails, and you don't want yours to be so long that the recipient deletes or skips over it before reading the entire thing.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.