Here are the three deadly sins, from my point of view
Nothing to Say
- In which there are crickets.
- Consultants are pretty good at filling dead air, so maybe you won’t notice, but sometimes if we’re tired or distracted enough, we’ll just leave you hanging, so we’ll be the ones with nothing to say
- Maybe you’ll fill the space by asking us to talk about our practice, but you won’t learn much about specific projects, general trends are generally discussed in group sessions, and you probably already had the background data available to you, so that doesn’t work either
Too Much to Say
- In which you pull out a sheet or a book with every possible bit of data about your community/region/etc. and nothing sticks.
- This is the time to remember that there are cheat sheets, which you should have in case you need to reference it to answer a question out of left field, and then there is presentation material, which should be designed to highlight something specific, not catalogue every single thing.
One Size Fits All
- Sometimes you will meet with someone who has no idea who you are or who your community is
- Sometimes you will meet with someone who has never met you, but might know your community as well or better than you do
- Sometimes you will meet with someone who feels like an old friend, but knows nothing about your area
- Sometimes you will meet with someone who feels like an old friend, but might know you community as well or better than you do
- See what I mean, you just can’t have the same conversation with each of these people. OK, you can, but it is a bad idea.
SO, what do you do? Here it is in a nutshell:
Research the people you are meeting with in advance
Tailor your conversation to each person
Focus on one or two key points – they might be different points for different people
Need more? I’m available to be your speed date coach – reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (770) 333-6343