The Conversations Before the Meeting
by Dwayne Phillips
This discusses a technique that helps move “decision meetings” in a favorable direction. You spend time to save time. It works more often than not.
I have been assigned the task of presenting an idea to a meeting of decision makers. Yes, many organizations still have groups of decision makers, and they still decide in regularly scheduled meetings.
The goal is to present the idea and receive approval from the decision makers.
I was pushed into and finally recognized the benefit of a technique that requires more time and effort before the infamous decision-making meeting. It works far more often than it fails.
- Meet with each decision maker in their place (office if you still have those) before the decision-making meeting.
- Discuss the idea that you are to present.
- Answer questions.
- Take suggestions.
Next up is the formal decision-making meeting. In every instance where I used the above procedure, the decision makers in their meeting approved the idea.
Why? Here are several reasons (there are others):
- Location: the first meeting is in the decision maker’s place. They are comfortable their. New ideas are not as threatening in their place.
- Conversation: the first meeting is a conversation, not a lecture. It goes back and forth. People like to talk more than they like to be dictated.
- Time: each decision maker has time to consider the idea. That time falls between the one-on-one conversation and the decision-making meeting.
- Participation: each decision maker will suggest ideas to help boost the idea under consideration. During the decision-making meeting, each decision maker will recognize their suggestion, i.e., their contribution to the idea. People like to approve their own ideas.
This is a lot of work and requires a lot of time.
Why can’t the decision makers see the brilliance of the idea in the one meeting and decide? Because they are people. People need time and people like to contribute. Sorry for that, but that is life. Besides, I am being paid for work and time. That is my job.