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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 January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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