The web and mobile communications save us lots of time, money and effort. GoToMeeting, Skype, texting, conference calling and email make it possible to interact with other humans without driving or flying. In some cases, we connect without leaving the house.
But there are times when it’s better to sit down with a business associate directly across a table. When it’s better to present a proposal across your prospect’s desk. When you have the opportunity to look in your client’s face when you tell her or him about your latest brainstorm.
Meeting in person can also be challenging. Interruptions occur. If the person (or persons) you’re meeting with has to take a call or address a pressing issue, you may prefer to wait rather than reschedule. I’ve sat through crisis after crisis on occasion while waiting to receive full attention. (I’ve also waited lengthy periods for my counterpart to be available before finally being told, “Let’s do this next time.”)
By being focused and consulting notes as needed, you can help assure that an in-person meeting will result in more and better information being exchanged. Negotiating and closing deals are almost always best done face-to-face.
To make the most of your in-person meetings, schedule them and show up on time. Determine in advance how much time you will devote to a given meeting and what circumstances might cause you to extend that time. Know what you want to accomplish during the meeting and, even if you don’t get what you want, work to move the needle in your favor. When digressions occur in your conversation, try to steer the conversation back to what you came to talk about.
The most important element of an in-person meeting is, I think, picking up visual and vocal cues that might be missed in a phone call or email exchange. These cues may provide as much insight as the actual words being spoken.
(To talk about PR and Social Media guidance for your organization, call David Craig PR in St. Louis at 636-346-3434. I would enjoy talking to you about your needs. We may want to set up a meeting—in person!)