What was your personal posture for your last five meetings with people from other organizations or projects? I am realizing that more and more meetings are about pitches and less and less about learning and caring for the person on the other side of the table. I thought about this recently for my own meetings and noticed that I was asking too often of others instead of thinking about their best interest at the top of my mind. I was looking for something for me: promotion, funding, partnership, ideas, and new relationships. I have been trying to change my posture in the last few meetings from wanting to learning and from getting to giving. Here are a few things to think about as you prepare for your next meeting with and external potential partner:
1) Ask the question: How can I help you? I learned this from Gabe Lyons, when I had the pleasure of working alongside him to start The Q Event. He had a masterful way of changing a conversation with all people by prioritizing this concern first. It is fascinating to see how people engage in conversation with a completely different way and most people respond with a statement like, “I am not normally asked that.”
2) Proactively think: Who is one person I can introduce them to? As your discussion progresses and you are taking notes consider writing names that come to mind that would further their business ideas. What if your meeting actually instigated projects that have nothing to do with you? What if their ideas were limited only because of your friends that they don’t know? Its easy to want to hold those relationships close, but I guarantee you will benefit in the long run and society will be better off because of your freedom to share.
3) Learn to use the phrase: I need some advice. This is a new posture I am learning from the Founder and leader of Moving In The Spirit, Dana Lupton. She taught me how I too often pre-consider how someone ought to help me and I miss out on how they may want to help me. If I pre-determine another partnership, I am missing out on all shapes of consultation, creative ideas, relationships and experience that I did not know what sitting in front of me. In using this phrase, you open of a dialogue learning from others experience. Every time I have used this phrase to engage with people, it opens up relationship, not a pitch decision point.
Do you have some other things we should consider that others could learn from for external meetings in changing our postures from Pitching to Partnering? Share them with us…we need some advice.