One-on-one meetings can be just as nerve-wracking as getting up to speak in front of a big crowd. Use these tips to help prepare for, maintain poise during and ultimately master your next solo meeting—whether you’re in a sales pitch, a job interview or a performance evaluation.
1. Have a plan.
Prepare for this meeting like you would any other, but think through the conversation you’re going to have. Once you have a plan in place, you’ll be better able to guide the meeting and make knowledgeable contributions to the discussion. Ask yourself the following:
· What is my objective?
· What do I need to know going into the meeting?
· What will I need to know during the meeting?
· How will I get the information that I need to prepare?
Once you’ve answered the questions, figure out what materials you’ll need to support your plan—such as handouts or a PowerPoint presentation.
2. Be an active listener.
· Don’t interrupt the other person or think too far ahead in the conversation
· Look at the other person—not out the window or around the room
· Take notes to reference later
· Summarize what you hear
3. Know what to do if things aren’t going as planned.
If the meeting is going a different direction than you anticipated, don’t let it rattle you. Even if you’re well prepared, your conversation can get off track. Maintain a good perspective: If the other person is still talking, he or she is still engaged in what you have to say. Try to steer the discussion back to the purpose of the meeting, but don’t be afraid to step away from the conversation and ask for some time to reflect on what you’ve talked about. This gives you the opportunity to follow up with a clear mind and a purposeful response.
Make your best impression with tips from Dardis Communications’ seminar.