When you’re meeting with someone, whether it’s for the first time or for the 20th time, you need to follow these 4 steps in order to have a mutually beneficial meeting. That’s right, I said mutually beneficial because, at the end of the day, both parties should take away something useful from the meeting.
While you don’t want to be greedy, it does take two to tango, so you should respect the fact that time is the most valuable commodity for you and whoever you’re meeting with. If you’re aksing for 15 minutes to 60 minutes of someone’s time, then you need to make sure you both get as much out the meeting as possible.
First Step – BE PREPARED.
This step is pretty straightforward, be prepared for your meeting. Have you done your research? Have you looked at their website, LinkedIn profile, social accounts, or latest projects? Have they been featured in the news recently? Do you have any common connections or interests? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been introduced to someone through a common connection. It’s a great way to start the meeting off right.
You don’t need to be a creepy stalker, but take a little time before the meeting to see what’s new with the person you’re meeting with. This is not only a great personal touch, but it can also help break the ice if you’re both not overly comfortable with talking to people. Remember, small talk can be one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal if you’re able to find common ground.
Second Step – DO NOT SELL!
I can’t stress this one enough. A sales call is a sales call, a one-to-one meeting is a conversation between two people getting to know each other and seeing how they can help each other out. I have bailed out of many 1-1 meetings because it became a sales call I didn’t agree to. There’s nothing more frustrating than being duped into a sales call. It’s both disrespectful and a waste of your time.
During your conversation, what you do, sell, etc. will naturally come up. Let that happen organically. Read the room. You’ll come off as tone-deaf or desperate and no one likes to do business with people like that. People will be more open to doing business with you if they like you.
Third Step – BE ENGAGED
As I said before, it takes two to tango and you want to make sure you are being respectful to your meeting partner. To do that, be engaged in the conversation. Make sure you ask questions, LISTEN to their responses, and take notes. You’ll be amazed at how much you will learn about someone and the mutual opportunities you can discover if you just shut up and listen. Don’t dominate the conversation; share the spotlight and make sure you’re both equal participants. Also, put the phone down. Seriously, nothing is more distracting or discouraging than talking to someone who is constantly checking their phone. If you are waiting for an important call or email, then be courteous and tell the other person at the start of the meeting that you’re expecting an incoming call or email. We’ve all been there and we all understand. A little respect and communication will go a long way.
Fourth Step – FOLLOW UP
This is the most important step for having a successful 1-1 meeting: FOLLOWING UP. In a world of constant communication and connection, following up is more important now than ever before. However, most people do not do this step. I myself have been guilty of such a crime. I’ve found that scheduling time on my calendar ensures that I send out my follow-up messages. I normally schedule my follow-ups the very next day or at least within 24 hours of the meeting so that it’s all still fresh in my head.
During your meeting, be sure to note who the person you are meeting with can introduce you to and which introductions you can make for them in return. Agree to hold each other accountable and reiterate which introductions you’ve both agreed to make in your follow-up message.
If you follow these simple, yet effective steps, every meeting you conduct will be both fun and productive. And beware of those time bandits who try to dupe you into a sales meeting that you didn’t agree to. Just say no to TIME BANDITS!