I had a less-than-ideal experience earlier today, at a tea-cum-pitching session with an entrepreneur that was introduced by a mutual friend. I made the mistake of not asking for materials beforehand, and was still clueless as to what product the entrepreneur and his team was trying to build after listening for three-quarters of the hour that we scheduled the meeting for. It probably wasn’t anyone’s fault in particular, but I still thought it would be a good idea to pen down what works for me, to remind myself to be more disciplined in the future and hopefully increase the productivity for future meetings.
- Get me interested and curious. Have yourself be introduced through a mutual contact (hopefully one that I trust) and tell me what you’d like to meet for. If it’s to pitch your idea, it would be best to include at least a basic slide deck so I won’t be coming in to the meeting cold.
- Cut straight to the chase. I tend to like to leave the small talk to the end, and not at the start, especially if it’s the first time we’re meeting. I don’t know if we’ll click at the start, and need some time to form an impression of you. I am also an engineer by training, and love mathematics, and would prefer to have the main concepts or points of our discussion put up front in a structured way, before we drill down into the gory details. If I’m still lost by the 15-minute mark, and I happen to be less direct that day for whatever reason, don’t be too shy to restart from scratch, or tell me you’ll send me more information later on to better frame your points. What turns me off the quickest is rudderless pitching – at that point, things can only go downhill. Of course, this point is moot if it is a casual meeting.
- I’m actually quite nice. As harsh as I may sound from the above, I’m really by and large a nice guy. Still, it doesn’t mean I’m a pushover. Try it at your own peril 😉
- Be honest, sincere and direct. Because I am like that too, and appreciate others like myself. I dislike pretenses. If I made a mistake, I am happy to apologize to you.
I look forward to having a constructive meeting with you.