How to conduct a business meeting?

During our many business oriented activities we come across various clients. We interact with them, carry out financial transactions and organize countless business related meetings. It must be stated that not only the owner of an enterprise carries out m

During our many business oriented activities we come across various clients. We interact with them, carry out financial transactions and organize countless business related meetings. It must be stated that not only the owner of an enterprise carries out meetings with clients, but also managers who were delegated to perform this specific task. Depending on the course and the outcome of a given meeting, our company might or might not sign an important contract, be given an assignment, and, in consequence, earn some money. The development and well-being of every company is highly dependent on clients. This is why it is so important to properly carry out business meetings so that they lead to the achievement of specific goals. One of the important moments is the stage in which we plan the whole meeting. The second critical element is how a manager or businessman behaves on such a meeting, as his or her attitude can be the key factor in determining whether or not the company establishes some valuable contacts. In the next few lines, we will present what is essential in planning a business meeting, and we will describe how to carry out such a meeting in an optimal manner.

The importance of business meetings

Business meetings are an integral part of a job of every company owner and high-ranked employees who deal with managing. Managers, directors, and trade representatives who carry out business meetings should have appropriate skills and competences. It is worth noting that such meetings prove to be decisive when an enterprise is to sign a lucrative and important contract. The way in which even a very short business meeting is organized can decide upon the whole future of a manager’s company. Therefore, it is worth to prepare carefully for such a meeting so that everything goes according to plan. It is not an easy task to achieve the pre-planned goals on a business meeting, especially if we deal with clients or contractors who are unwilling to follow any suggestions and do not want to negotiate. One has to be gifted and posses appropriate knowledge in order for a business meeting to run smoothly. Only then will a company be given an assignment or become engaged in profitable cooperation.

What is interesting, it is much easier to carry out business meetings face-to-face, without too many onlookers. From a company’s point of view, small meetings, with two people at best, will always prove to be more effective than large scale gatherings. It is more difficult to come to an agreement when many people are involved as everyone has something to say and, usually, there is little time for that. Two people are faster at establishing a joint standpoint and reaching a consensus. The atmosphere surrounding an eye-to-eye meeting is often informal, making it easier to achieve a goal. Moreover, in a small group it is easier to monitor not only the time, but the whole course of the meeting as well. Sometimes such control is necessary.

Planning a business meeting

Anyone who wishes to organize an ideal plan of a business meeting has to have great knowledge and experience. Luckily, such a plan can be written on the basis of some existing publications that refer to the relations with business clients, or it can be founded upon the tips we provide below.

Firstly, every plan of a business meeting should always have a time reference. It should designate an appropriate amount of time for every element of a meeting that is to be discussed with a client or a contractor. The meeting should not be too long. Otherwise, our speaker might get bored. If we talk for an hour about one thing, a client usually loses his interest in the matter. We should try to be precise, and our vision should be presented in a short period of time.

Secondly, it is important to maintain some order of the issues we would like to discuss on a business meeting. At the beginning, we should talk about simple, uncomplicated matters. If we begin talking about difficult problems during the first few minutes of a gathering, we might come to a standstill and fail to reach a desired agreement. It is worth to begin by asking simple, routine questions. They can even be indirectly related to the topic of the business meeting. Such questions make it possible to fluently shift to the main issue during the course of our discussions. We can also try to organize the whole scenario of a business meeting, with many alternatives that may arise with the course of time.

The next vital thing is to establish some priorities related to our business meeting. We cannot omit any essential point. We have to clearly describe our own interests in the whole matter. We should point out beforehand what are the aims of a given meeting from our point of view, and what are the means by which we can achieve those aims. After that, we can focus on identifying the interests and needs of our client, or the person with whom we are to talk about the deal. We should strive to establish a number of communication strategies, so that we can adjust to various personalities of our clients. Of course, it is much easier to organize a meeting with a person that we worked with previously. In such a case, we simply know what to expect. It is much more difficult to interact with people we do not know, or people with whom we have never talked with, even by the phone.

Moreover, it is imperative to establish the manner of the gathering. We have to decide if a given meeting is a preliminary one in which we are to familiarize ourselves with an assignment, or if it already is a project meeting in which we are to present information about the progress we made on the way to completing our client’s project. If the meeting is to be informal, we should not give our client a contract to sign or burden him with any accounting documents.

Furthermore, in most cases when we plan a business meeting, we can formulate a list of questions and excuses that our client might come up with. If we know what to anticipate, we can prepare a set of answers for our business partner beforehand.

Conducting a business meeting

Once we have a detailed plan of our meeting and the day to face our client draws near, we should reach the appointed spot on time, or even a bit earlier, so that our client or contractor will not have to wait for us. The place of a business meeting should always allow the contracting parties to talk freely, and without being interrupted. It can be a quiet cafe or a restaurant. Sometimes, business meetings are conducted in a given company’s office, however, it is difficult to establish a loose, neutral kind of atmosphere that would suit discussions. Pubs and fast food diners are a bad choice. Such places are not suitable for business oriented meetings.

We should properly dress ourselves for this kind of occasion and follow the rules of etiquette. A suit is preferable; elegant trousers and a dress shirt are also a good choice. Such clothing is a sign of respect towards our speaker.

The first stage of the discussions is devoted to something called breaking the ice. We should get to know our speaker and try to establish what are his expectations concerning the whole meeting. It is good to establish some common points at the beginning in order to gain at least a bit of trust. There are many other things apart from what we say that are important, e.g., the tone of our voice, articulation, and our body language that sends many subtle messages. We benefit if we learn the basic aspects of nonverbal communication.

Next, questions and answers related to the deal begin to appear. During this stage of a business meeting, we should work on acquiring the information about our business partner’s expectations and, if we are dealing with a client, financial capabilities as well. Informal and semiformal situations are good occasions to achieve that.

The key topics of a business meeting should be discussed after finishing a meal, a coffee, or a cup of tea. This aspect is of great significance for the entire discussion. After a meal, we can proceed to the presentation of our offer or the terms of cooperation. We should carefully identify the reaction of our speaker, as this usually is the moment in which questions are asked. We should answer them precisely and without hesitation. After dealing with basic issues, price negotiations begin. We should always have the ability to decrease the previously established price, at least a little bit. Our business partner will be highly satisfied if we do so.

It happens that sometimes people begin to quarrel during a meeting. In such a case, both parties should do their best to calm down. The most important thing is to arrive at a joint standpoint, to agree on a contract, or to sign a document referring to cooperation. Private animosities or misunderstandings cannot influence the outcome of our meeting.

It is imperative to try to create from the very beginning a positive atmosphere during a business meeting. It should facilitate discussions and help evoke the feeling of trust in our speaker. He should be made aware that we are the best business partners available, and that it is worth to cooperate with us, or give us some specific tasks.

It is important to carefully listen to our partner during a business meeting. We cannot neglect his or her questions and lingering doubts. Everything should be clarified.

Conducting large business meetings

If there is no other way but to meet on a large business gathering, we should make sure that every member of the discussions is aware of the aims and knows his individual role. It is a good idea to prepare in advance a detailed plan of the meeting and to distribute it to every member. Such plan can be sent via email, e.g., a day before the meeting. By doing so, we ensure that everyone will have the time to adequately prepare for discussions and to come up with some questions.

The future of every company is highly dependent upon adequate planning and skillful conducting of business meetings. Thanks to managers who engage in relations with clients and contractors, it is possible to start beneficial business cooperation, or to sign a financially lucrative contract. In fact, these two actions should be the objectives of every business kind of meeting.