9 things successful people do to conduct effective meetings
Everyone you meet on your path of life has an impact and can help you open more doors in terms of friendships, business, love, and so on. You never know in advance which roles the people you meet will play in your life. We here at Bright Side have compiled a list of must-know rules for those who know the true value of making new acquaintances and business contacts.
Do a little research before going to the meeting
Most meetings, whether formal or informal, are not accidental. Make an effort before going to a meeting and do some research so you can learn more about the person you are going to deal with. Find out about their professional experience, background, or personal interests. This will positively affect your perception of the other person and the meeting will be more productive. Successful people never neglect this simple rule.
Prepare for the context of the meeting
Whether it’s a first date, an initial discussion with a new supplier, or a job interview (no matter which side of the table you are on), be prepared. Think about the questions you will ask during the interview or anticipate potential questions and prepare answers accordingly.
And do not forget that you’re seeing only one side of the conversation and have a limited view of the other person’s goals and intentions. So it is better to consider a few patterns of the meeting flow and be more flexible.
Remember that no one feels comfortable during the first meeting
No matter whether it’s a first date or a business meeting, very few people feel really comfortable talking to someone they don’t know well. We all worry about the first impressions we make and are afraid to miss something really important. But remember, just because the other person looks confident, it doesn’t mean that they are relaxed and not worrying.
You just need to realize that the other person is as nervous as you are. This will help you forget your own problems in the process.
A friendly smile is your best accessory
Smiling when meeting people for the first time is old advice. But not all smiles are alike. A broad and insincere smile can have a negative impact on your interaction with others, giving someone the sense that you’re getting ready to sell them useless stuff.
Let your smile be a real smile that comes from within. Let it genuinely come out of the chance to be pleasantly surprised, learn something new, and perhaps strike a relationship that might become important in the future.
Look someone in the eye
Looking directly into someone’s eyes shows that you’re a sincere, open, and courageous person. Someone who lowers their eyes when talking with someone is often regarded with suspicion. Look into the eyes of your interlocutor. However, avoid making this an inadvertent contest or test of domination.
Just remember: differences between people from various cultures can be really huge. A comfortable meeting of the eyes in the western culture might be considered impolite or even rude in other corners of the globe. Do some research before the meeting to learn more about the cultural background of the person you’re going to deal with. If you can’t learn this ahead of time, watch your interlocutor’s gestures, posture, and intonation, and mimic these during the conversation. This will help you act properly.
Offer a culturally acceptable greeting
The customs and rituals involved in greeting someone are often different from country to country. If you are planning a meeting, greeting etiquette is a thing that you need to be particularly aware of. Something which is normal social behavior at home may not be in another culture. Of course, foreigners are also aware of cultural differences, but if you greet your guests properly, your chances of successful negotiations will be increased. Be polite and attentive and this will not go unnoticed by them.
Take note of other people’s surroundings for clues about them
If you meet in someone’s office, at their home, or in another place they frequently inhabit, look around. You can find some keys or clues to the identity of the person you talk to. Pay attention to everything around you: books, works of art, furniture, small decorations, or even photos. This will help you to build up a good rapport with the other person.
Focus on the other person’s interests
Focus on the needs, interests, and comfort of other people. Address them in the language they understand, and offer them what they want. Describe the benefits of working with you in an unobtrusive way. That doesn’t mean you should ignore your own interests, but it means that you shouldn’t focus on your own goals alone. Try to understand the motivation of other people.
Don’t overstay your welcome
It is important to end your meeting on time. Even if there are still unspecified issues left, it’s quite a normal situation for a first meeting. Then there’s a greater chance that the other person will look forward to a second meeting to discuss the important issues more thoroughly.
The first meeting is more of an opportunity for both parties to get to know each other better. Trying to discuss all the possible angles of the matter during it isn’t a good idea. Let the negotiation process have a natural progression and span.
Illustrated by Leonid Khan for BrightSide.me
Based on materials from inc.com