Despite the growing role that technology plays in building relationships and our relative ease doing business with strangers, our most important short and long term decisions are still made face-to-face.
Here are five ways you can ensure they love you in the meeting
1. Get Smart: Lack of preparation is the biggest mistake people make. What is important to the other person and why? What will influence their decision or attitude about you or what you have to say? This affects everything you do from now on. Go beyond Google!
Key: learn as much as you can about the individuals before the meeting.
2. Focus on your objective, not your subject: What do you want this person to do or think as a result of this face to face meeting? Does it line up with their expectations or what is possible in the time you have with them? Rather than do a data dump or talk too much, focus on what you need to do to achieve your objective.
Key: Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time available
3. Remove distraction: Our bodies send a louder message than our words. Our posture, energy, dress, gesture, eye contact, movement, voice, are all sending a message to the person across from us. Be comfortable, clean and appropriately dressed for the situation. Avoid the ‘rule of three’: First mistake (dirty shirt) okay, I forgive you. Second mistake (unpolished shoes) hmmmm. shame. Third mistake (dirty shirt, unpolished shoes and messy hair) forget it.
Key: Breathe, relax, slow down, be yourself, have fun.
4. Listen: Based on what you learned in the Get Smart stage, you realize you can’t possibly know it all, so you need to ask. Plan your questions beforehand. Ask good questions where you can and really listen to the answers. A big mistake in first meetings is to listen only long enough to be right. It is a bit of point scoring to get positive airtime.
Key: asking insightful, relevant questions is a powerful way to make a lasting impact.
5. Followup: It’s a chance to prove you were listening, are interested and attentive. Answer any questions or objections you couldn’t in the meeting within 24 hours. Send a thank you note. Be creative.
Key: The post-meeting impression is just as important as the impression you made at the meeting. Don’t drop the ball.
Remember to be yourself and take the time build a rapport with who you are meeting. Your intelligence, talent and experience will only take you so far.