Whether you are trying to impress a potential new client or you are pitching your product to a big retailer, you want to make sure that everything goes perfectly. To give yourself the best chance of this happening, you should make sure that you have done enough vital preparation. After all, it is very rare that anyone can stroll into a boardroom totally unprepared and expect to walk away with success. Well, in this article, we are going to talk you six crucial points involved in prepping for your next big meeting. Hopefully, by the end, you will feel more ready to walk in and nail it!
Look into the Company
In the age of Google, you have no excuses not to thoroughly research whatever company you are intending to do business with. You can start off with their company website as this will give you a good general overview of their values and goals. But it is also a clever idea to research what other people are saying as well in news articles or reviews from clients. You are likely to read some negative points as well as positive ones, but you may also be able to identify some problems and challenges that you could help them with. Also, you are much more likely to be able to impress if you can talk about their company straight away, demonstrating that you have taken a genuine interest in their business.
Research the People
Once you have researched the company in detail, the next step is to research the people who will actually be at the meeting. LinkedIn is your obvious starting point, allowing you to check out their current role at the company and any important past positions that they have held. It is also worth doing a wider search as well, checking out biographical information from other sources and perhaps checking out any interviews that they have been involved in. This way, you may be able to gain some extra insights into their personalities and personal viewpoints. Also, you could do a quick search on the key members of the company who won’t be attending the meeting.
Set an Agenda
Even if you don’t stick to your agenda perfectly, it is still a good idea to create a rough outline as this will ensure that you cover all the points that you want to. When your guests arrive, give them a copy of what you have set out and allow them to insert anything which may be missing. If you want to be especially organised, you could even send them the agenda over email beforehand. This way, everyone is on the same page before they arrive. Start off with introductions if this is the first time you have met before diving into the business-based chat.
Prepare What to Say (But Also Prepare to Listen)
You should have what you want to say well-prepared, addressing what you are aiming to provide for them. However, ensure that you make some time for non-business chat as well. People are much more likely to want to do business with people who they trust and like. Try to anticipate any questions that you may receive and have your answers prepared. Of course, sometimes you are going to be expected to think on your feet as well. As well as talking, you also need to be prepared to listen. This way, you can pick up on important information and act accordingly. And, at a basic level, people like to be listened to!
Organise the Location
If you are going to the place of your potential business associates, there is not much you can do to prepare the location. However, if the meeting is at your place, you need to make sure that everything looks at its best as visual impressions tend to be strong and lasting. Clean up any areas that they may see - even if this is only going to be a conference room and bathroom. Perhaps you intend on giving them the grand tour of the building, in which case, you want everything to at least look neat and tidy. Do all the basics like emptying all trash baskets, cleaning the whiteboards from previous meetings, and arranging visual displays. When they arrive, set the right impression by taking drink orders. You may even want to order food if it is going to be a particularly long meeting. Alternatively, you may choose to host the meeting somewhere other than the offices, and whether this is a coffee shop or a restaurant, choose a location that you can familiar and comfortable with.
Dress to Impress
The final point that we are going to discuss in dressing to impress. What you wear will say a lot about who you are and what you are offering. So, if you are in a strictly corporate environment, aiming to inspire confidence and display professionalism, you can’t go wrong with custom suits. However, if you are wanting to give a more relaxed and creative impression, you may choose to go for something more casual. Ultimately, you should be comfortable in what you are wearing either way. If you feel relaxed, you are much more likely to display an air of confidence and this will radiate from you at the meeting.
So, hopefully, this guide has made you feel a little more confident when it comes to dealing with your next big meeting. To start off with, you should do your research - firstly on the company as a whole, and then on the individual people at the meeting. Next, set an agenda to ensure that everyone is quite literally on the same page. Prep what you intend to say, but also be prepared to listen and adapt accordingly. Properly organise that place where you are going to be meeting. Finally, make sure that you dress to impress and you are all set!