How To Have A Successful First Business Meeting
Meeting with a client for the first time, perhaps when you are about to sign an important contract or make a partnership that will boost your business considerably, is something that all business owners will find nerve-wracking. Even the most confident entrepreneurs are sure to feel at least a little apprehensive about going into such a meeting; it means a lot, and getting things right is crucial.
This is why it’s so important to prepare in advance so that you can have a successful first business meeting with someone. Read on to find out what you need to do to start off on the right foot.
Once you have a date and time – and location – set for your meeting, it’s wise to start preparing for it. The last thing you would want is to arrive at the meeting with only a vague idea of what you want to say. This would be a disaster, as it would be obvious that you hadn’t taken the time to put together a comprehensive plan, and the end result would most likely be a failure.
The best thing to do is to conduct as much research as possible before the meeting starts, and ideally days or perhaps weeks in advance, not a few hours. Find out as much as you can about the company you’re dealing with and the individual with whom you’ll be meeting. As well as this, make sure you know exactly what you want the outcome of the meeting to be, and ensure that, if you are asked any questions about your plans for the future, your business, or the specific idea you are talking about, you are able to answer.
Making a good first impression is crucial in a business meeting. The people you are meeting with will be as busy as you are, and they won’t have the time to waste on anything less than entirely professional. If you arrive late, you look scruff, your notes aren’t in order, or you simply don’t know what you’re talking about, then it is unlikely that these important people will acquiesce to your suggestions about working together. They won’t want their company’s reputation to be linked with yours if you are unprofessional.
Given that it takes only seven seconds to form an opinion, you won’t have much time to make an excellent first impression. With that in mind, make sure you are:
- On time
- Dressed appropriately
- Have the right information
- Are polite
- Make good eye contact
- Listen to what is being said
It’s also a good idea to have confidence training from STL so you can engage properly.
Have An Agenda
A meeting with no agenda has the potential to go on and on for far too long. No matter what interesting points you have to make, if a meeting goes on much beyond an hour, the people you are talking to will become uncomfortable and even bored. This will have a detrimental effect on the outcome of the meeting, and they might choose not to work with you because of it.
Make an agenda ahead of time, and even send it to the people you’re meeting with in advance, so they know what to expect and how long it will take. In this way, they will be as prepared as you are, plus you’ll have a guide to stick to so you don’t forget what comes next.