Here are the four steps to the tactic I use.
Constrain meetings to signal more will be achieved in less time. If your default meeting duration is one hour, make it 45 minutes. If the default ‘short’ meeting is 30 minutes, make it 15.
Open each and every meeting with ‘This meeting will be successful if…’ and list the desired outcomes. I learned this from Jeff Weiner (CEO at LinkedIn).
‘Thank you for taking the time to meet today.
I know your time is valuable and I’m sure you would like to respect mine as well.
The reason we are meeting today is the discuss [insert topic].
We would love to work and partner with you.
If you feel the same I would like to understand the steps we need to take to start creating value for both of our businesses.
If you don’t think we can work together, let’s talk about why that is.’
If business is to be done, specify and agree on the date to finalise the next immediate step in the process. Diarise it and nail it.
There will undoubtedly be other steps but get the people in the meeting focused on the next step and the rest will follow.
If business won’t be done, thank them for their time and then do the unexpected.
In two weeks time from that meeting, send them some value. It might be a study, an article or a video you found that they will benefit from.
Why do this?
Because ‘No’ only means no today and by extending value, your stock just went up a couple of points in their mind.