…as a top management consultant, you must set the agenda for a meeting. That is a no brainer. It is almost too simple to mention here in our Thursday Night Flight session. You want to be prepared, so you write down your objectives and you formulate the agenda for each and every client meeting. Every new consultant learns this within the first days and weeks.
Having said that, the agenda is usually the first business interaction when you and your client meet. After the usual small talk warmup, this is the first content that is put on the table.
You want to make sure that you get full confirmation for your agenda! Why? Because this determines how the whole meeting will run for you.
Firstly, there is an obvious reason for this. You want to make sure that all participants are on the same page. That the content of the meeting is actually addressing a true concern of your client. You want to channel the attention on the prepared content to have a constructive discussion.
Secondly, there is a non-obvious reason that is more than equally important. You want to get a couple of “yes”-statements from your client before you actually start. This is psychologically beneficial for the overall process of what you have to sell (ideas, projects, next assignment, etc.). Saying “yes” to your agenda sets your client on the right track, makes your client more agreeable and considerate than a first “no”.
Next time you set the agenda, you may want to step into your client’s shoes and phrase it from their perpective. Find formulations that mirror your client’s needs. Talk about what your client will win and gain in each step instead of what you were preparing. Use this simple first content for a number of “yes”-agreements.
Wishing you lots of success!
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