Preparation is Everything
Many entrepreneurs have the assumption, that they do not need to be prepared for meetings. They jump from one meeting to another and think they can just wing it. And it does not matter whether this is a meeting with a client, a supplier, or an internal meeting.
They do not review the notes from the last meeting, neither do they prepare anything for the new one. Usually, they arrive just on time so that there is also no time to review anything briefly before the meeting.
I experience this pretty often, when I am the only person in a meeting who is prepared.
However, preparation is everything – in life and in business.
Preparation sets you up for success
Knowing what happened in the previous meetings and having an agenda prepared for the current one, is a must.
First of all, you need to know the purpose of the meeting you participate in. Why are you there? Is this a brainstorming session, a status meeting, a presentation, or a negotiation? Who are the other participants? What are their roles? And what happened until now that could influence the atmosphere of the conversation? What is the goal of the conversation? Which results are expected – from you and from the others?
While this might sound rudimental to many of our readers, check in with yourself: Are you really going through these questions for every meeting that you join? Really?
Most people think they are. But if you ask them for the answers to these questions, they stumble.
No Preparation – No Strategy
When joining a meeting, you should know exactly, where you want to go with this appointment and what your desired outcome is. In order to best moderate the meeting, you need to answer the questions given in the previous section.
If you want to convince somebody to follow your argumentation, you need arguments. You need facts and figures, charts, things that underline what you want to get across. Also, you want to think about a strategy. In which sequence to present your arguments, how to handle objections or conflicting information. And to be able to respond fast, you want to think about all possible scenarios. What could your counterpart bring up? Which possible routes could your meeting take? How can you best take it back to where you want to have? What do you do if it absolutely does not go how you anticipated it?
You want to know your strategy, before you go in. Also, you want to know which options you have to react. How much room for decision do you have? What additional material do you need to bring along? Do you need to bring some of your staff along with you? If yes, who?
The Costs of Bad Preparation
Imagine, you are not well prepared. What can happen?
Just image you have an appointment at your bank, and you ask for a new credit line or to expand an existing one. And let us assume you prepared nothing. Where could this meeting go to?
Maybe you were not aware of the fact that you were behind with payments because you did not check before. This could raise serious concerns about your liquidity and makes your request appear in a bad light.
Maybe you paid all your installments, but your industry is currently under pressure and the bank is concerned that lending you more money might be too risky. If you had a busines plan and an earning projection ready, you could eliminate this thought immediately. And prove at the same time what an amazingly forward-thinking entrepreneur you are.
Also, if you had done some research, you would know what the current interest rates. This would help you in negotiating your terms. Additionally, you could have researched alternative options that will give you more negotiation power. Knowing that you have options available, allows you to walk away in case it does not go your way.
You see how a little bit of preparation can make all the difference? For you and your business.
If you think that your business could need more preparation , feel free to book a free 30-minute call with us and let us jointly see what we can do to fix that.
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