How to maintain confidence in business meetings
If you are not endowed with the talent of a negotiator by nature, then business communication can be a difficult task. This is especially true of tense situations in which much is at stake. For example, business meetings where you represent your company. Entrepreneur Simon Purdon told how to maintain self-confidence at such important events.
A generation of interlocutors sitting on the other side of the screen
The new generation, beginning to immerse itself in business, is not as skillful in face-to-face communication as our parents. It sounds primitive, but it’s true. Many of us have grown up talking more often with friends on the phone. Private conversations are especially difficult for some.
I was only allowed to use the phone when I was 15 years old. Then it seemed to me like I’m inferior. Now I believe that this was one of the best decisions of my parents.
If I wanted to chat with friends, I had to plan a trip to visit them. Because of this, during the formation of my character, I had to deal directly with people. I could not hide behind the screen.
I found myself in situations that tested and developed my personality. I had to learn to behave confidently with girls, otherwise they would not be interested in me. I could not create a false impression by coming up with a witty response to a message.
I think it also gave me an advantage in participating in business meetings at a fairly young age, after which my peers came up with the question: “How do you manage to look so calm, balanced and confident?”
Most people are not aware that communicating with others – and especially getting what they want from them – is a skill. Like any other skill, it must be developed.
At the first business meetings, I was completely hopeless. I think I’ve gotten better since then. Here are a few tricks that helped me with this.
In the end, it will be very difficult to get what you want from a person or group of people whom you cannot look into your eyes – at least to some extent.
Humans are subjective beings. It will be difficult for even the most rational thinkers among us to forget about their ego during negotiations.
If the interlocutors do not like you, they probably will not like your idea. So try to win them over, even if you have to sacrifice your ego for this. Here are some ways to do this.
Talk about abstract topics
It is not necessary to immediately plunge into the business. In the first few minutes, just chat with your interlocutors. Get an idea of their mood and character. At the same time, do not cross the border – these people are not here for the sake of idle talk. If you feel that they are starting to strain, admit it and get down to business.
Find something in common
A little preparation will help. Learn in advance about common friends and common interests and accidentally mention them in a conversation. This will help to establish mutual understanding and defuse the situation.
Take an interest in the business of the interlocutors before mentioning your
They are working hard to make their business a success. The fact that you are not indifferent to their successes and plans will show people that you take into account their interests too.
This may seem like a common truth, but I want to work with a person without a sour mine on my face much more. A smile is conducive to cooperation and makes talking with you much more enjoyable. A frown can make your interlocutors think that you want to refuse their offer.
Watch your body
Like the face, the body says a lot about your inner state. Here are some tips to help you feel freer during your conversation.
Sit straight. Do not slouch.
Keep eye contact, but not too hard. A gaze looks creepy. Look into the other person’s eyes briefly and nod to show attention.
Do not cross your arms. This is a universal signal: “I am closed to you and your ideas.”
Do not lean back in the chair. Leaning forward demonstrates interest and makes the other person participate more actively in the conversation.
Try not to place any objects between yourself and the people opposite. These objects will become a barrier, and it may seem to your interlocutors that you are defending yourself.
It is especially important if you were the initiator of the meeting. Nothing will spoil the impression of you so quickly as arriving at it unprepared.
You asked some time for the interlocutors, now make sure that: 1) they will not regret it; 2) you do not waste it. Here are some ways to verify that you are well prepared.
He will tell the other party how much time you need to meet, and thereby demonstrate your respect for her. Include details in the request: duration, location, and so on. Use a specific title. Do not write: “Apple meets Google.” Better formulate this: “Introductory meeting between Apple and Google.”