I have found this open secret that would help you in any of the important meetings you will attend in future. These meetings are unpredictable, high value and sometimes difficult too. You may remember this as your interviews, sales pitch, proposal discussion, client reviews, contract renewals, mentorship discussion, mastermind groups, keynote talk, Brainstorming ideas, Workshops, Live Demonstrations etc.
The focus before these important meetings is always on the outcome of getting the job, winning the sale, negotiation to profits, good feedback and referrals, high pricing for next year, getting answers to all questions, the million-dollar idea, the audience standing ovation in the end, listening to brilliant new ideas, clients getting breakthroughs, showing every part of a feature in the demo etc.
We miss the fundamentals of the unknowns and the surprises. Preparation for it is what we need to focus on before the meeting. The energy and focus need to be on the atomic data points that you think will serve the other side better. You have to anticipate and find the priorities, risks and desires of the other side.
You have to put in 1-2 hours before the meeting. My recommendation is to do this a day before your BIG meeting. Below mentioned are some of the things to think about
- Write down the outcome/expectation of the other side
- Write down your desired outcome
- Your minimum threshold to outcome you will happly accept
- List down all the points that may be an objection
- What things will go opposite side of your desired outcome
- Make a counter explaination of above two points
- Thing of multiple examples on high priority item
- Draft your rationale, ideally backed by data for your decisions
- Review your prepwork with your team and take feedback
- Role play few critical discussion before hand and get a feel
Yesterday I had one such meeting but I wasn’t prepared because the invitation said one thing and the discussion was another. That’s how life happens to you when you are prepared the least. It was a difficult conversation and I had not prepared for it. There were a couple of things that we could have done better in the conversation. However, one thing that came up from our client-side which we thought made sense and within a few minutes I gave a solution that gave our client a little bit of playroom. Thus keeping value intact and owning more risk to deliver. I cannot share the details due to an going contractual deal
It’s dangerous when we assume that the blocks we have in our own head are in the minds of our clients.Rochelle Moulton