Have you ever led a project or task that was politically sensitive? To be successful in these kinds of environments, it is vital that you plan your meetings carefully to ensure you maintain control over the outcome. This does not mean you will always prevail in having a decsion go your way – but it will ensure that you are well prepared to answer questions proactively and that you will look crisp, prepared and professional.
A successful meeting starts before the meeting is even scheduled. Here is a quick checklist to ensure your success – regardless of the outcome.
- Why are you meeting? (If you don’t have an objective/expected outcome… cancel the meeting!)
- Who needs to be there? (If someone doesn’t have a role… do they really need to be there?)
- What topics will be covered? (Agenda… Agenda… Agenda)
- What are the major stakeholders perspectives on the topics?
- Plan to answer known objections before they are raised (raise them yourself and mitigate them)
- Ensure the location is appropriate (Try to get a neutral room/site. If not possible, have them come to your territory. Walk into the bear’s den, only as a last resort)
- Ensure the time is appropriate if you want a good turnout.
- Call/contact major stakeholders to ensure that they will be there. Reschedule the meeting if needed to ensure a good turnout.
- Establish rules ahead of time. Conflict Resolution… How decisions are made… Parking Lot for ideas or stalling points… Who takes minutes
- Capture Action Items
All the best…
All the time!