Preparing the encounter
Meeting here is to be taken in the general sense, from large meetings to one to one discussions. Normally when attending a meeting you have some objectives you'll want to meet. There are probably many things you'll do to prepare your meetings, and the following is an outline of important things to think about in order to reach your objectives:
- Decide what you want to come out of the meeting (a decision, a plan, a commitment, a signed contract, ...)
- Figure out what the counterpart(s) will want from this meeting (refuse your request, delay their reply, ...)
- Decide what the minimum you'll be satisfied with is. Below this minimum you'll definitely admit you failed to obtain what you wanted. At the minimum you'll recognise you didn't fully get what you wanted but you went a good step towards it (if you ask for a raise for example and your N+1 manager doesn't give you one but organises a meeting with N+2 to discuss promotion, you might or might not consider it satisfactory)
- List the problems which could arise (objections, ...) and prevent you from reaching your objectives
- Find solutions to these problems, transform reasons to resist your proposal into reasons to embrace it (this of course is a complex part and requires in depth thinking of the argumentation)
Long term/short term
It is much better during this work to manage to stay 'ethical' (not to "rip off" someone). It is sometimes possible to 'manipulate' someone into something they don't really want but they will soon realise this. Unless this is ONLY an immediate term action this will generally give bad results (even short term), as people very soon (minutes/hours scale) realise what happened (most of us have probably experienced that strange feeling after being "ripped of").
Preparing the message
When preparing your intervention you sometimes aren't really sure of many aspects of the context during which you'll deliver it. For example you often don't really know how long you'll have, you might not now if you'll have a video projector, how many people will you be talking to, ... The result of all this is that you should make sure you have a presentation adapted to different situations, for example:
- Plan for short (a minute or two) and long presentations (an hour or two) which make your points in both cases.
- Plan your presentation for different types of individuals, for example analytical (often technical profiles, like accountants, programmers, engineers, ...) or sensitive (often creative profiles, like designers, some managers, artists, ...). Adapt as required.
- Plan for visual support to use if you feel your interlocutor is visual, otherwise be sure you can describe your point without visuals.
In short, you should be able to adapt your message in realtime to best match the situation, and achieve the objectives as described above.