I recently bought a house, moved to a new town and (most importantly) got married. I was reflecting on these life changes and decided I better research more retirement investing options. I made an appointment to speak with a financial advisor who has a small building in my very small town. When I arrived he greeted me in the waiting area and motioned to his office. I walked into his office and I was immediately impressed…with how he set up the chairs. I was expecting to see a chair or two in front of an ornate desk that he would sit behind in a very nice leather chair. I was surprised to see he had a table in the room and two chairs, facing each other, on the same side of that table. This immediately told me he was focused on what I had to say and we were on the same team. It made me smile when I thought; this is exactly how I set up the chairs when I interview people.
Everything you say and do should work towards the goal you are trying to achieve. This sounds like common sense, but business professionals often stray from the path. The most commonly neglected aspects of the communication process are the logistical aspects. Negotiators and sales professionals spend a lot of time detailing the agreements they want to achieve and what they need to say to achieve them. They don’t always consider how the logistics of the conversation can improve their ability to reach their desired agreements. Logistical aspects of any conversation include the date, time, location and room set up. All of these can have significant effects on the outcome of any interaction. While we may not always have control over these aspects, we usually have the opportunity to, at a minimum, influence them. Here are examples of logistical considerations that should not be overlooked in preparing for any meeting.
There are several points of consideration when we set or agree to the date of a meeting including:
- How long until we need to make a final decisions?
- How many other meetings do we need to schedule?
- How many other parties will we need to meet with?
- How much time do we need to prepare for the meeting?
- How much time to we need to recap and research alternative after the meeting?
- When may our counterparts be meeting with potential competitors?
- What are the production or delivery timelines?
- What are the travel costs?
There are also several considerations when setting or agreeing to the time of a meeting:
- How long will the meeting potentially last?
- Does the meeting time interfere with anyone’s commute, meal, family or other obligations schedule?
- Does your team typically operate better in the morning or afternoon?
- Are there any time zone, jet lag or other travel considerations?
When choosing the location and room set up of the meeting it may be important to consider:
- Is the meeting place and any required support items easily accessible?
- Is there enough pace and comfort for all the meeting attendees?
- Will everyone have access to the necessary technology?
- Where will everyone sit?
- Are there any issues with the lighting and temperature of the room?
Taken individually each of these considerations may seem insignificant. However, they are all pieces to a much larger puzzle. Everything you say and do should work towards creating the environment that you believe creates the best chances to achieve your goals. Every puzzle piece contributes to the final picture.