The best way to win the hearts and minds of the people is to make it a positive experience for everyone. If you're rude about it, or just blow people off completely, they are going to think, "Oh, there goes another gun toting jack off."
When I carry, I try to be as nice as I can to everyone so that they can feel better about me carrying. If they ask why I'm carrying, I try to be as polite and courteous as possible and give them a real explanation and not this "because I can" BS. That way, I can leave knowing I gained the trust of another person, and they left thinking about how nice that guy was, maybe carrying a gun isn't such a bad thing after all. They have just as much right to ask me why I'm carrying a gun as I do to carry it.
Anyway, my .02.
This is where I disagree. Here's why:
Let's imagine a scenario where you come into the car dealership where I work. You're browsing our selection of vehicles while chatting with your spouse/friend/whoever. The conversation happens to be about politics or religion. I approach you and ask you to leave because I take offense to your discussion. In fact, I'm amazed at your audacity to come to my place of business and discussing controversial subjects without notifying me in advance... without making sure I don't have a policy against free speech.
Sounds silly, doesn't it? In this situation I think you would go to your local news editor and get a story splashed across the front page. Why do we treat our right to defend our lives like less of a right than free speech?
As I have said in other posts, I think that our attitude towards our own right will affect the attitude others treat our rights with. After all, if we feel we need to ask permission, maybe they feel permission should be required.
However, if the venue does have a problem serving me while armed, I would in this case compromise and leave my gun in the car. The only reason I would do so is because to me this meetup is all about networking. There will be plenty of other opportunities to win the fight for our rights; this dinner is about forming alliances in that battle.