Why Most Meetings Fail To Influence And Reach Positive Outcomes
Updated: Dec 30, 2019
Being the most influential person in meetings becomes second nature when you implement these 6 Steps before an important interaction.
As a professional, imagine not consistently walking away from most of your meetings having not achieved the agreed objectives, and resolving 4 out 5 agenda items with clear actions for everyone concerned. Imagine how much faster things would move whilst constantly building long-term profitable relationships.
So many times I have asked a room full of senior managers, why they don't plan for important meetings? Imagine asking the captain of a ship about to leave the harbour where the ship was heading and getting the reply, “Don't worry, we will get there in the end?” Where would the ship end up then? It could be anywhere! How would your passengers feel about your professional ability? Arriving at a predestined place means planning the route, which is what we are doing here.
Six Why Meetings Fail And Influence
The Influence Interaction Model is based on six key steps. If you skip a step or two, the results may result in delays, lower impact and possibly added costs.
1. Don't start with an Agreed Objective - Have you ever prepared for a meeting only to be derailed 3 minutes into your delivery. Starting with an agreed objective ensure's everyone is on the same page throughout the meeting. When developing your objective consider what the other parties want to achieve.
Ask yourself the question: What do you want the other party to THINK, FEEL or DO differently as a result of your interaction? As an example: We want the client to THINK we are all agreeing on a great solution, FEEL confident it will receive buy-in from the leadership team and it will DELIVER a long-lasting impact on both participants and their customers.
2. Influence begins with Building Relationships - If you don't take the time to understand your stakeholders and begin relating to them you will rarely come to an agreement. The aim of step 2 is to minimise differences at a subconscious level. Two things to consider are Communication preferences and building Rapport. By placing yourself in the other persons shoes you may discover there is a different side to the story. Tony Robbins defines rapport as "total responsiveness between two parties".
By identifying some COMMONALITIES, BELIEFS and INTERESTS, you will discover when there are points of difference it becomes easier to overcome because you are in rapport. One of my favourite tips for professionals is to arrive at your meeting 5 minutes early and ask about people's weekend plans (not 5 minutes late with coffee in hand). This provides an opportunity for you to share something of a personal nature that will help bring your human connections together and find something in common.
3. Don't Set The Influential Context - If you don't take the lead and commence the influencing process by clearly setting the CONTENT, OBJECTIVE and AGENDA for the meeting, people will have the option to create their own agenda or just not engage. Sharing this with the other parties and asking for agreement or contributions prior to the meeting will receive buy-in before you start. Should someone not agree with the planned agenda items they should speak up before the meeting so as not to derail the outcome and waste everyone's time.
4. Don't Prepare Killer Questions - Investigative inquiry tactics are an essential component to clearly identify the other parties’ business needs, strategies and issues, expectations & motivations, and likely areas of resistance. Uncovering the "unknowns" by being INQUISITIVE and PERSISTENT will change the game for both parties. This is where you can demonstrate your professional consulting skills. Doing some research and preparing a number of killer questions to ensure clarity and alignment can definitely be a game-changer.
5. Be unclear about Your Persuasive Proposition - This takes a lot of thought and cannot be done on the fly. You must be able to clearly articulate your proposition or recommendation in a persuasive and compelling manner. It needs to be clear, in layman's terms and address the agreed objectives. By preparing your persuasive proposition you will not be tempted to introduce anything "left of field" that has not been discussed or agreed previously. Be prepared at this stage for objections and in some cases sabotage. If you have placed yourself in the clients' shoes and prepared for possible objections you will be perceived as PREPARED, PROFESSIONAL and the RIGHT PERSON for the job.
6. Finish the meeting without Reaching an Agreement - Quite often meetings finish with people saying: "What did we agree and what are the next steps?" This is the final step in becoming influential and where most people stop before gaining agreement and establishing a plan to move forward with CLEARLY DEFINED NEXT STEPS. Quite often, you may find there are issues not agreed, but it is essential to agree that they have not been comprehensively addressed and constructive actions have been established to seek the resolution.
“After 3 months of a stale mate, I started using the Influence Planner and the outcome was a complete about face... agreeing on what we couldn't agree on, and moving forward with the things we could agree on was a GAME CHANGER for all parties."
If you are serious about becoming influential by addressing these reasons, take the challenge and you are likely to see completely different results. I'm sure you have often heard "if you are looking for a different result you MUST DO something differently.
"Influencing and Building Client Relationships" will enable your team to consistently meet client needs commercially whilst building long-term profitable relationships. It forms part of the Client Centricity and Collaboration programs we have developed for client facing professionals and team leaders around the world.
Please contact us for an INITIAL CONSULTATION to discover how we can work together to achieve beneficial long-term outcomes for your team.