A client meeting doesn’t start when you walk in the door and say good morning to your client. Rather, it should begin a day or two earlier, as you mentally prepare and reflect on how to make that meeting a success for both of you. Too often we are preoccupied with a key message we’re trying to deliver, a point of view we want to convince our client of, or an agenda that we’re determined to get through at any cost. Such rigidity and lack of forethought can be disastrous. One client I know got a meeting, after waiting for months, with the CEO of a large Fortune-500 company. The senior executives representing this client were so focused on their own agenda that they missed valuable cues in the first five minutes of the meeting. They had failed to thoroughly research the CEO’s agenda and history of public statements about the company’s finance strategy. As a result, 25 minutes into a one-hour meeting, the CEO got up, told my client that the meeting was over, wished them luck, and left the room! Here are some suggestions for avoiding such an ignominious demise in any of your own client meetings:
Have you spent as much time thinking about what your client is going to say as you have thinking about what you are going to say? Have you considered the different ways your client may react to your message?
Have you put yourself in your client’s shoes? What business or personal pressures is he/she feeling right now? How is his/her relationship with superiors, colleagues, and subordinates?
Have you made a list of what you don’t know about this wc attorney client but would like to know? If it’s a first meeting, have you found out everything you can about the individuals you’ll be meeting with? Can you use this meeting as an occasion to become more knowledgeable about your client?
Are you structuring the meeting to create a real dialogue with your client? This could mean having no written materials whatsoever—or, if you do, making sure you engage your client as you walk through the presentation, testing for understanding, agreement/disagreement, and corollary issues. For the best gumbling experience check out reel rush slot