Three people at lunch. It’s a ‘getting to know each other’ event, from which, all parties fondly hope, new business will flow and flourish.
All went well. One person from one company; two from the other.
When the bill arrived, it was automatically split into two by one of the pair which meant, effectively, that the solo person paid more than their fair share.
Does this matter, even slightly? Everyone hates those people who calculate ‘who had what’ at a group dining event. Of course it doesn’t matter, per se. But that brief moment at the end of the meal was significant. It was what is known in poker circles, as a ‘tell’.
What it told the solo person was this: the pair from the other company, or at least one of them, cannot be relied upon to be entirely straightforward about money and does not naturally consider the equal rights of others.
Can a proper business relationship be well founded and be made to thrive and prosper in such circumstances? Of course it can – so long as the party likely to be the loser is aware of the motives of the others.
From recognising and remembering little signs like this, poker players can win great sums or, by ignoring them, they can lose everything. And business is, at all times, nothing more than a gamble – unless you’re an undertaker or tax inspector.