Monday, February 14, 2005

The Art of the 2-Hour Lunch

About a year ago, I went to meet a friend, who just happens to be a psychologist, for lunch. After the customary 1 hour, I asked him if he needed to go, and he responded that when he schedules lunch meetings, he also clears his calendar of any meetings with patients in order to avoid hurrying through lunch. I was impressed! Here's a guy that probably bills on the order of $90+ dollars an hour, and he clears his schedule in order to slow down. Since that meeting, I've decided to "go European." I guess in the business world, a 1-hour lunch is the standard form, but I've decided that it seems that often the best conversation happens in the second hour, once you've gotten past the "information stage," where you basically bring the other person up-to-speed with all the stuff that is happening in your life. I call it "going European" because Europeans seem to have a sensibility that meeting someone over a meal is not about seeing how fast one can cram food down their gullet before heading off to more important stuff. Maybe the most important "stuff" is to slow down, enjoy the meal, order some coffee and share life together. So, if we get together for lunch anytime soon, I've probably planned for plenty of time, I hope your schedule will allow you the freedom to slow down!

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