FACE TO FACE

How to have a suc­cess­ful meet­ing

Gulf Business - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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