FACE TO FACE
How to have a successful meeting
A recent study by Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and IHG found that UAE businesses could be missing out on a quarter of additional revenue because they do not invest enough time in faceto-face contact.
Hazel Carter-Showell, a UK business psychologist and body language expert, gives her top ten tips for successful faceto-face meetings:
INVEST TIME AT THE START OF A BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
Put greater importance on face-to-face meetings at the start of a business relationship – the more time you spend in a colleague’s company, the quicker you can build a strong and confident relationship based on trust.
BE COST & TIME EFFICIENT WITH VIRTUAL CONNECTIONS
Less than two-thirds – 64 per cent – of professionals find virtual meetings to be more time-efficient. Use them for less complex conversations such as short briefings and updates. However, for more complex discussions, such as negotiations or performance reviews, face-to-face meetings tend to be more productive as they present us with the opportunity to benefit from reading nonverbal cues.
CONNECT BEFORE YOU MEET
Nearly half – 47 per cent – of business people build trust before meeting via social channels. Use social media to research a business partner before meeting – you may have a mutual connection or share a business relationship with another colleague, which will help you establish a rapport when you meet.
SMALL TALK, BIG REWARD
Don’t underestimate the importance of small talk – on average, across all countries, we spend seven and a half minutes on small talk during meetings.
MEET IN THE MORNING
All countries agreed the morning was the optimum time to meet in order to have a successful meeting, ideally either on a Monday or Tuesday. People usually have more energy in the late morning as body temperature starts to rise just before we wake and continues to rise through the morning as concentration and alertness gradually improve. So aim to meet late morning if possible. Also, a meeting will be most productive if there is time afterwards to act on the actions agreed.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO STAND OUT IN A MEETING
Just make sure it’s for the right reasons! Contribute to the conversation in a way that takes the meeting forward; leaning in, showing focussed attention by asking insightful questions, demonstrating nuanced understanding of the problem and empathy for the people involved will make you stand out and be noticed.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Choose meeting locations wisely. Meeting facilities are very important, as these are the venues in which complex social interactions take place. Two of the most frequently given factors for success in a business meeting were comfortable chairs – 53 per cent – and temperature – 59 per cent. To be comfortable is to be free from distractions.
KNOW THE SIGNS
Look out for signals of discomfort with what has been said. These tend to be ‘freeze, flight or fight’ response – such as reduction in movements, leaning away or jaw-clenching. To calm ourselves, we need to generate serotonin through biting lips, clasping fingers, rubbing our head or neck – these are pacifiers, the adult equivalent of sucking our thumb.
Hazel Carter-Showell, founding director of CarterCorson.