I’ve been in the business world for more than a decade. Before that I was a journalist.
Throughout my adult post-graduate life, I’ve been hypersensitive to the effectiveness of a one-on-one business meeting. It astonishes me that some people, regardless of how long they’ve been in business, haven’t mastered the art.
Here are some tips to follow when doing a one-on-one that can prevent you from losing (business and your reputation.
- Set a time to meet and be there 5 minutes early – If you can’t be there early, being at least on time is absolutely mandatory. There’s nothing worse than having to wait for the other person to show up.
- If there is a family emergency or you need to cancel, reach out to the person on all forms of communication until you either run out or you get in touch with them – Nothing’s worse than having a one-on-one and not having the person show up. Even if it’s for a good reason, be courteous and make sure they know. You can’t assume that the particular form of communication you chose to contact them is the one they will be checking.
- Always try and learn as much as you can about the other person when meeting. — Just talking about your business and yourself for 30 minutes without asking about the other person and their business is just plain RUDE. It WILL hurt your reputation and you’ll probably lose that contact forever.
- A one-on-one is not a sales meeting. It’s a place to learn about the other company and figure out if there is any synergy to working together for the future. — Nothing’s worse than being pitched at a meeting, especially when you’re not expecting it.
- When meeting, try and find a place that is similar distance for both parties — Having to drive all the way to one person’s location is not always considerate. Sometimes it’s necessary, but meeting on mutual turf is often easier to network and learn about each other.
- Always write a quick note after the meeting to thank the other person for taking the time to meet you — A little extra goes a long way in keeping you top-of-mind with that person.
Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to get more out of your next one-on-one.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Did I miss a crucial one? Post it in the comments below.