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How to Prepare for an Important Business Meeting with Someone You have not Met Before.

How to Prepare for an Important Business Meeting with Someone You have not Met Before.

Let’s say you have an important meeting with someone you have never met before.  Maybe it is a job interview, a call with a potential client or a meeting with the head of a department in your organization.  Whatever it is, there are some important steps you can take ahead of the meeting to increase your chances of a successful outcome.  For our purposes, let’s say the person you will meet is called John Bromley.  Here are the steps.

1.  Make a written plan.

Many people make the mistake of going into a meeting with no clear objectives.  Just a few notes will help you.  What would be an ideal outcome of the meeting for you?  What are the key topics you want to discuss?  What do you want John Bromley to do?  Do you want him to give you information, to agree to some action plan or to support your proposal?  If you know what you want then you have a better chance of getting it.  What is your fall back plan?  If you cannot get agreement to plan A, maybe you should have a lesser objective, i.e. plan B.

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2.  Confirm the appointment by email.

Send a short note confirming the meeting and the topic. “I look forward to our meeting next Tuesday at 10 am in your office.  I would like to discuss the proposal for a new warehouse facility in France.”

3.  Do some research.

Research the topic and research John Bromley.  Google his name and see what you can find out about him.  Talk to someone who has worked for him and can tell you what he is like and what his motivations are.  Prepare your pitch, but be ready to change it in the light of what happens at the meeting.

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4.  Link with him on LinkedIn.

Send a short note requesting that you link.  While you are at it you might make sure that your Linkedin profile is accurate and up to date with a friendly and professional looking photo.

5.  Study his LinkedIn profile.

Read his resume on LinkedIn.  Where did he work before, what did he study, what has he done, and which groups does he belong to?  This will help you to understand him better and to find points of common interest.  In particular look at his contacts and see if you have any shared contacts.  Shared contacts can be a good source of information about him and also you can refer to them early in the conversation.  “I see that you know Philippa Jones at IBM.  I worked with her on our Cloud Computing project.”

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6.  Plan your first few questions.

Have a plan for the broad structure of the meeting.  For example at the beginning of the meeting you want to establish some rapport before plunging into the business issues.  The topics and people you have gleaned from your research will help you with some icebreaker questions.  Then you might want to get him talking about the key issues before introducing your proposals.  Good questions are the way to shape the direction of the conversation.

7.  Anticipate his point of view.

Try to step into his shoes in advance.  What will his likely view of the issue be?  What objections or concerns might he raise?  What questions will he ask?  What evidence or data might he request?  Prepare your responses and if appropriate take some supporting material in case he asks for it.

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Finally I would recommend finding out the dress code at his office.  Often his assistant will tell you this.  You should dress just as smartly as he does.  If he normally wears a suit and tie then it would be a mistake to go in T-shirt and jeans.  The first impression you create is very important, so dress appropriately and meet him with a confident smile and a firm handshake.

Good luck with the meeting!

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Paul Sloane

Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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Last Updated on May 17, 2019

This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

The pursuit of worthwhile goals is a part of what makes life enjoyable. Being able to set a goal, then see yourself progress towards achieving that goal is an amazing feeling.

But do you know the biggest obstacle for most people trying to achieve their goals, the silent dream killer that stops people before they ever even get started? That obstacle is the comfort zone, and getting stuck there is bound to derail any efforts you make towards achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.

If you want to achieve those goals, you’ll have to break free from your comfort zone. Let’s take a look at how your life will change once you build up the courage to leave your comfort zone.

What Is the Comfort Zone?

The comfort zone is defined as “a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.”

What stands out to me the most about that definition is the last part: “using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.” How many successful people do you know who deliver a steady level of performance?

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The goal in life is to continually challenge yourself, and continually improve yourself. And in order to do that, you have move out of your comfort zone. But once you do, your life will start to change in ways you could never have imagined. I know because it’s happening right now in my own life.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. You will be scared

Leaving your comfort zone isn’t easy. In fact, in can be downright terrifying at times, and that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little trepidation when you’re embarking on a journey that forces you to try new things.

So don’t freak out or get overwhelmed when you feel yourself getting a little scared. It’s perfectly normal and all part of the process. What’s important is that you don’t let that fear hold you back. You must continue to take action in the face of fear.

That’s what separates winners from losers.

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2. You will fail

Stepping out of your comfort zone means you’re moving into uncharted territory. You’re trying things that you’ve never tried before, and learning things you’ve never learned before.

That steep learning curve means you’re not going to get everything right the first time, and you will eventually fail when you move out of your comfort zone. But as long as the failures aren’t catastrophic, it can actually be a good thing to fail because …

3. You will learn

Failure is the best teacher. I’ve learned more from each one of my failures than I have from each one of my successes. When you fail small, and fail often, you rapidly increase the rate at which you learn new insights and skills. And that new knowledge, if applied correctly, will eventually lead to your success.

4. You will see yourself in a different way

Once you move out of your comfort zone, you immediately prove to yourself that you’re capable of achieving more than you thought was possible. And that will change the way you see yourself.

Moving forward, you’ll have more confidence in yourself whenever you step out of your comfort zone, and that increased confidence will make it more likely that you continue to step outside your comfort zone. And each time you do, you’ll prove to yourself again and again what you’re really capable of.

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5. Your peers will see you in a different way

Whether we want to admit or not, people judge other people. And right now, people view you in a certain way, and they have a certain idea of what you’re capable of. That’s because they’ve become accustomed to seeing you operate in your comfort zone.

But once you move out of your comfort zone, you’ll prove to other people, as well, that you’re capable of much more than you’ve shown in the past.

The increased confidence other people place in you will bring about more opportunities than ever before.

6. Your comfort zone will expand

The good thing about the comfort zone is that it’s flexible and malleable. With each action you take outside of your comfort zone, it expands. And once you master that new skill or action, it eventually becomes part of your comfort zone.

This is great news for you because it means that you can constantly increase and improve upon the behaviors that you’re comfortable with. And the more tools and skills you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

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7. You will increase your concentration and focus

When you’re living inside of your comfort zone, the bulk of your actions are habitual: automatic, subconscious, and requiring limited focus.

But once you move out of your comfort zone, you no longer rely on those habitual responses. You’re forced to concentrate and focus on the new action in a way you never do in your comfort zone.

8. You will develop new skills

Moving out of your comfort zone requires that you develop new skills. One of the many benefits you’ll experience is that you’ll be stepping away from the “limited set of behaviors” and start to develop your ability and expertise in new areas.

Living inside of your comfort zone only requires a limited skill set, and those skills won’t contribute much to your success. Once you can confidently step outside of your comfort zone and learn a new skill, there’s no limit to how much you can achieve.

9. You will achieve more than before

With everything that happens once you move out of your comfort zone, you’re naturally going to achieve more than ever before.

Your increased concentration and focus will help you develop new skills. Those new skills will change the way you see yourself, encouraging you to step even further out of your comfort zone.

Featured photo credit: Josef Grunig via farm3.staticflickr.com

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