Master The Meeting

Make the most of meetings

In the classic '80s movie Wall Street, Charlie Sheen's character, Bud, pins his hopes on winning the account of shady Wall Street mogul Gordon Gekko, chillingly played by Michael Douglas. In an early scene, Bud has spent the whole day sitting in Gekko's outer office on the chance his prospect will take a few moments to meet with him. When the two finally do meet, Bud quickly learns he's way out of his league, though ultimately he's able to impress Gekko with his persistence (and his inside information). From that one meeting, a relationship is born that changes Bud's life forever.

Sometimes, your entire future can rest on the results of a single meeting. People hire people, not companies, and they hire people they like. Meetings are your most important relationship-building tool. For most entrepreneurs, successful meetings are essential to growth and long-term success. You may meet with prospects regularly to sell your product or service, or you may have meetings only at critical times, such as when you're seeking investors. Either way, successful meetings require polishing specific strategies and skills. Here are five ways you can get better results from all your prospect meetings:

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Kim Gordon is the owner of National Marketing Federation and is a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Her latest book is Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars.

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Master The Meeting.

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