Do you ever have to meet clients or colleagues in crowded areas to have a meeting, for coaching and 1 to 1 training? Starbucks, busy hotel lobbies, reception areas, service stations. Unfortunately, it’s the sign of the times and we don’t always have the privacy of a room. Read on and I’ll share some ideas on how you can get the best out of these meetings.
I could just see the Prudential logo on her notepad so I guessed she was a financial adviser meeting with a prospective client in a hotel reception in deepest darkest Suffolk.
Quite normal you might say but little did she know that I was about to start a multi room conference at the same hotel with about 60 delegates milling between half a dozen rooms on two floors with break outs planned very 15 minutes. The reception area was going to become a bit like Piccadilly Circus on steroids.
I did feel sorry for her…and her client…and I was tempted to pop over and give her some tips to handle the situation she found herself in.
Backs to the Wall
In heavy distraction areas put yourself with your back to a wall or blank area so your client doesn’t get distracted whilst watching you. You can then use all sorts of gesture and non verbal language to get your points across. You might get diverted but you can handle that can’t you?
Use your body language and gestures to keep more attention than just using your voice. Use special anchoring (yes you can get jabs for that at the chemist) to differentiate information. For example, when you talk about your competition move your body one way and for information about you and your service, move your body into a different position. Your client will anchor the information to the body position. So when you get to present your solution, move your body into the anchored position.
Alternatively use your left and right hands to mean things. “On one hand we could look at this option and on the other hand we could go this way”. Now emphasise or gesture the hand you would rather they take. This is quite hypnotic buy the way.
The Cooperative Angle
Always sit at 90 degrees to your client as this is known as the cooperative position but remember what’s behind you.
Your eyes must be level with your client. This is usually very easy when you’re both sitting down but if you’re standing up and you’re much taller than your client, you could come across as looking down at them. Not good.
Emphasis your voice more to keep their attention. Change your tone…speed up to add excitement to a point and sloooow down to emphasise a decision. Finally, when asking for some commitment or closing, attempt to slow your voice pace and lower your tone. This change in voice is very good at building belief and credibility to your proposition. Try it, it works.
What to do with your hands
Hands? What do we do with them? When sitting down with clients, try to keep your hands below your face and above the table. This is the right zone. Keep them in this zone and use gestures. Hand to face does you no favours at all so keep them away from this area unless you want to do a classic thinking person’s pose. But you could use your little finger to see if the client gets your point.
Standing to present, keep your hands in the zone between your belly button and chin – never below or above these places. Use them to gesture and describe, don’t grasp them like there’s no tomorrow.
And with your back to the wall, using your body language to its maximum effect and your voice to gain their attention, so your client can really focus just on you, you’re open to a little bit of hypnotic language. But that’s for another day. Or is it?
And my financial adviser guest? No, I didn’t pop over to her, that wouldn’t be right or well received. Bless her though, she just carried on, but you could plainly see the client was clearly distracted much of the time. Shame that…a couple of these tips might have made all the difference.