Posted by: magnussonllc | August 27, 2009

How to Establish Yourself and Your Agenda in a First Meeting

Woman in MeetingFirst meetings are always challenging but there are tools and structures we can use to have a higher impact and greater success.

Here’s one 4-part play to quickly establish yourself and your agenda in a first meeting. This technique is not about a casual meet-and-greet; it is when you have one chance and only one chance to make your case. The steps are based on Keith Ferazzi’s  interview with veteran consultant DeAnne Rosenberg, who learned early in her career that confidence and audacity are often the keys to leaving a meeting with what you need – and what you want.

  1. State the situation as you see it. This sets the stage for their candid response. Before you can speak persuasively—that is, before you speak from a position of passion and personal knowledge—you need to know where you stand.
  2. Communicate your feelings. We downplay the influence of emotions in our day-to-day contacts, especially in the business world. We’re told that vulnerability is a bad thing and we should be wary of revealing our feelings. But as we gain comfort using “I feel” with others, our encounters take on depth and sincerity. Your emotions are a gift of respect and caring to your listeners.
  3. Deliver the bottom line. This is the moment of truth when you state, with utter clarity, what it is you want. If you’re going to put your neck on the line, you’d better know why. The truth is the fastest route to a solution, but be realistic. Made sure your ask is appropriate.
  4. Use an open-ended question. A request that is expressed as a question—one that cannot be answered by a yes or no—is less threatening. How do you feel about this? How can we solve this problem? The issue has been raised, your feelings expressed, your desires articulated. With an open-ended suggestion or question, you invite the other person to work toward a solution with you. It takes pressure out of the interaction.
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