Brad Feld wrote a post recently called Preparing For A First Meeting With Me, where he gives folks some tips on what to do before, and during those meetings. Brad is a venture capitalist and, while he doesn't come right out and say it, the audience for this post are people asking him for money. It's good advice, and much of it applies to other types of meetings where you have an agenda. If you don't have an agenda for a meeting, then you should probably skip the meeting, or it means you're on Brad's side of the table.
Even if you don't think of yourself as a salesman, in most meetings you're either selling or buying. By selling, I mean there is something you're trying to achieve in the meeting that isn't certain. If you're selling, you should prepare. Next time you have a meeting where you are selling, make sure you...
- Know who you're meeting with and what their roles are.
- Know what their goals are. Know what motivates them. Know what will make them successful.
- Prepare your talking points, and tailor them based on who you're meeting with and what their goals are
- Anticipate the questions you're likely to be asked and prepare your crisp answers in advance.