“Mastering the art of meeting is very important! It’s the first impression you give to someone. Let me share with you all the tips and lessons learnt from my experience at Impact Hub.” – Melanie
Before The Meeting
Get to know whom you are going to meet, make a good self-introduction through your online presence and set the goal of the meeting. Things you should have in your check-list are:
- Make sure you are meeting the right person: the decision-maker or someone who has an interest in what you do. If you can’t identify yet who is the decision-maker, start being friends with the “door-keeper” who might be a subordinate of the decision-maker. He/she will be more likely to pitch you in a very positive way if you make a good impression on him/her.
- Set a goal for the meeting, approach them through email if you have their contact and mention in your email of introduction.
- Be and stay ready! Check the LinkedIn profile of your interlocutor to have a proper understanding of their background and just to get ourselves familiar with that person beforehand (and make sure you also have a very good LinkedIn profile because they will know if you check on them, and most likely they’d check back on you as well.)
- When you both are in contact and agree to meet, do share a Calendly link, which is sync to your Google Calendar, so that the person can book the best time for him/her. It will avoid some back and forth email exchanges to find the best date to meet. An automatic Google Calendar invitation will appear on your Calendar.
- Once it all set, don’t forget to mention clearly on your email the objective of the meeting, the date, and the place.
- Remind the person you are going to meet one day before, mentioning you are “looking forward to meeting him/her.”
If you are meeting someone for the 1st time, don’t expect immediate results from it. The goal is to build trust with each other, to show that we can bring value to each other. A bit like the first date! 😉
Usually, for me, partnerships happen at the end of 3rd or 4th meetings, or even 7 meetings. It takes time to build trust and a relationship, especially when you are new to the market.
Actually you might be able to reduce this time! Small hack. Build a very appealing LinkedIn profile, and build your online reputation (being featured in articles or posting regularly meaningful content on your Facebook page). Personally I always checked someone’s LinkedIn and Facebook profile before I meet someone. If I can’t find clear information, I am starting from zero and it will take more time to convince me of their legitimacy, and their intention.
Another very important rule: “Friends of my friends are my friends‘’, which means that if any of my friends recommend me to someone, I will check this person carefully. Why? Because I like my friend and he/she knows how busy I am, so if he/she thinks that this person is worth my time, I will definitely try to accommodate my agenda to meet him/her.
⚠️ Make sure, you always thank and update the friend who introduced you, on how the connections went. He/she will be more willing to introduce to more people if he/she sees that you maximize his/her connections. ⚠️
During The Meeting
Now the meeting is happening. Here is the check-list!
- Be on time! It shows that you really care, and it helps to set the good mood of the meeting. But if you can’t be on time, drop a message, apologize, and mention how late you will be. When you come in, apologize again for being late, otherwise, you will look very rude or disappointing! Time is precious!
- When your interlocutor is speaking, take notes! Otherwise, it seems that you don’t care about what the other is saying, especially if he/she is sharing important information.
- Speak with your heart! ❤️ If you are an entrepreneur, start always with the story on why you are doing what you do. Share your vision and what you have achieved so far. People feel it when you speak with your heart, and they will remember you. You care, you are excited and passionate about your project, this is the time to show it off!
- Pay It forward. Share with him or her some interesting resources, website, video (that you can share through email after the meeting), or even a contact (only if you think that you know the person well enough, and you feel comfortable introducing him/her to someone else). These small signs show that you care about this relationship and you are investing already some of your own resources into it.
- Walk out of the meeting with clear actionable points. What’s next? Who is doing what? When is the next meeting?
After The Meeting
- Send, in the next 24h, a friendly email thanking your interlocutor for his/her precious time, alongside the documents you promised you will send, or a recap of the next steps that you agreed on. Your reactivity will make you look someone serious and reliable. ( It is a part of building trust)
- Add this person to your “database of contacts” where you keep very carefully all your professional contacts. It can be a simple Google Spreadsheet to be shared among your team.
Base on my meeting experiences, here are the Do and Don’t:
My worst meetings (Don’t do it):
- When people walk in assuming I am free 24/7 for them to talk about anything.
- When people are late and they don’t apologize. Very bad impression.
- When meetings last more than 45minutes and no action points are decided.
- When the other person keeps talking and doesn’t ask me any question about myself/my company. I am bored and annoyed.
- When I don’t understand the purpose of the meeting
- When I feel the person is saying a lot of nonsense and nothing seems to be real/true
- When the other person is talking bad about others and makes strong judgement at the first meeting. (I might know well the people they are speaking badly about. It seems very unprofessional and unrelated.)
My best meetings (Do it!) 🙂
- When people are very friendly in their email. You can even use emoji with me! 😉
- When I feel that they did some research already about me and my company.
- When they are very responsive to email
- When they are very smiley during the meeting
- When I feel inspired by them
- When they share with me useful resources for me or share with me immediately a very useful contact that I was looking for
- When people thank me for my time by email afterwards with a very friendly and authentic tone
- When the meeting is short and to the point
- When the action plan is taken into action afterwards and when there are updates about them
There you have it! Now bring this list and apply it to your next meeting of yours. The first meeting is like a blind date but that does not mean you can’t prepare to impress or get to know them beforehand. Remember, if the date was good, plan the next one!
Written by Melanie Mossard
Editor: Vandara Sin