The business of business is about relationships, that much is crystal clear. Most relationships are formed over time but every one started with a 1st meeting. How many times do you feel like the meeting went perfectly? How many times have you walked out murmuring to yourself that you blew it?
Do you have a plan on how to maximize the goal of a meeting? Do you even have a meeting goal? Every meeting needs a goal and the simplest way to get there is to ask yourself this simple question, "when I walk away and I say to myself I nailed it, what does that look like"?
Some meetings are to close the deal (better make sure your target knows that and you have set them up for the ask).
Many times the goal of a meeting is getting the next meeting. Relationships develop over time and the next meeting is like the next date.
Some meetings are simply to get acquainted. This is typical for many 1st meetings and this is where many do it wrong. What do you talk about when the simple goal is to just get to know somebody? For this lesson, I will quote Eleanor Roosevelt who referenced what is appropriate to talk about.
Small minds discuss people; Average minds discuss events; Great minds discuss ideas.
Starting out with some small talk to warm up the dialog? Let's talk about how Uber changes their business model vs. Lyft, not Travis Kalanick or his firing. Let's talk about the ways we can increase diversity and inclusion in our local tech community, not the latest VC announcement of and individuals' action with regards to sexual harassment.
Social media has unfortunately reinforced the idea that discussions about people are newsworthy. I get sucked in too. But it is neither appropriate nor productive in both business and personal discussions.
Challenge yourself to up your small talk game and change the content of your material and then gauge how you and your discussion partner feels after. You just might close more business.