Business dining offers an opportunity to build relationships with clients or coworkers. The host should initiate conversation by asking casual, open ended questions about their guests such as “Tell me about where you live.”, “Where did you grow up?”, “Where did you attend school?”, “What are your hobbies?”, etc.. Hopefully others will become engaged in the conversation as they begin to relate to the answers and offer their own.
If the intent of a business dinner is to build relationships, business matters should not be discussed. This is especially important if spouses or friends are present. They would feel awkward not being able to participate in the conversation.
Business should only be discussed if the meeting was scheduled as a working business lunch or dinner. Business talk is appropriate after the initial small talk.