If you're reading this blog via Facebook, then you know from my status updates that I take a ton of meetings. Meetings can be incredibly effective or they can be major wastes of time. What the meeting becomes is up to you. Below are some tips for how I personally maximize the results of my meetings (try saying that five times fast)
1. Research- Before meeting with anyone, I take the time to look them up. I check and see if we have mutual friends, what this person has worked on in the past, what charities they may be involved in, etc. then I make some notes for myself on what we might discuss at the meeting.
2. How did you get here?- I always start my meetings by asking how the person came to their current line of work. Origin stories are always the most fascinating and they open up the lines of communication. Most importantly, it brings things down to acknowldeging this person as a person and not just their job title.
3. Discuss the connection- I sometimes switch this in order with #2. Find out who brought the two of you together and discuss how you both know that connector. It again helps to establish common ground and also can give you a glimpse into an area you may not have explored in your initial connection. Sometimes you'll find out that both the person who connected you and the person you're speaking with were part of the same networking group.
4. Discover the infrastructure- Take the time to really understand how the other person's business works. It can be very enlightening and it can lead you to being able to accomplish the goals in #5 that much faster. Find out who is at the center of this person's business and what the hierarchy is.
5. Make a deposit- With all of the information you've gathered, take the time to think about who might be helpful to this person and their career. Ask questions about what the person needs and do your best to write down at least three names of people who may be able to help achieve that goal. Sometimes you will feel like you know no one who can help, but if you have taken the time to get know more about this person than what their job is, you will most likely be able to come up with something.
Take the time to wrap up with any other questions and establish action items for the next meeting or for the intros you will provide. This system has been one that has helped me so much and I hope that you find it helpful. Feel free to comment below on any other things that you have done that made your meetings more effective.