How do you prepare for meetings? Do you have certain routines you always follow? There are a number of steps that can help you put your best foot forward.
- Know your audience. Who are you meeting? Have you done a Google search on them?
- Practice makes improvement. Nobody’s perfect, but you should be comfortable enough with your material that it flows naturally and you’re not relying on notes during the meeting.
- Follow up. If you tell the people you meet you’ll get back to them on a particular issue, make sure you actually do it. Keeping promises goes a long way and reinforces the quality image and brand you want to project.
Recently, I have attended meetings with senior entrepreneurs and politicians. What I have learnt from attending these meetings is:
- You have self-respect for yourself
- You have respect for the person you are meeting
- You be mature
When doing business with senior figures whether you realise it or not you are being analysed on how respectful you are and how mature you are. No businessman or politician wants to deal with a dizzy blonde or someone who can’t articulate their point.
Instead being mature and professional is preferred. Maturity can be gained through education, life experience, or both. Given my life experiences I have matured faster. From a very young age I was surrounded by adults. I use to go with my mother to meetings campaigning for the rights for guide dog owners. Also I have encountered adversity. It takes a mature attitude to bounce back from it.
Every ‘meeting’ is an interview. Connecting, engaging and striving for a result are what you should aim for in any conversation. Last week I went toLondonto meet former UK Home Secretary, David Blunkett. I wasn’t going for a job interview yet the questions he asked me were similar to an interview. I had to convey my USP – Unique Selling Point. Yet, a balance has to be drawn in conveying a USP.
If I spend the whole time talking about me and what makes me ‘unique’ then the other side will become quickly disengaged. I felt privileged to have the meeting with Mr. David Blunkett in the Palace of Westminister. A lot of people have asked me how did I get such a meeting and it all comes back again to connectivity and showing personal leadership.
This meeting was planned but sometimes we end up in situations and in the company of people where it is unplanned. On the same day of meeting Mr. Blunkett, by pure luck, I ended up having a conversation with another interesting man. This is why it is so important for job hunters to know what their USP is and how to articulate it. You never know when luck is going to show its head and when it does you need to make yourself memorable.