The Bottom Line Blog

Responding to an underwhelming meeting

Underwhelming meetings: they happen to folks responsible for revenue growth, across all levels of an organization. And while we coach our clients on how to best plan for impactful and productive meetings, underwhelming meetings still occur.

Knowing how to respond in the midst of disappointment is the key. You’ve got to learn to think like a gold miner.

Watch the video to learn more.


Responding to an Underwhelming MeetingSomething that happens to my team, and certainly something that happens to most of our clients, is having an experience of an underwhelming meeting with a target client.

With all of our clients, we coach them, we script them in preparation for a meeting. Many times we even facilitate the meeting itself. But after we’ve done that several times, all of our clients have to try this on their own. And we have to build our own practice. So we’ve prepared.

We know a lot of the business and political issues. It’s not unusual sometimes for us to have an underwhelming meeting with a target client, especially at the leadership level.

So here’s my first point that I want to make with you. An underwhelming meeting does not mean there’s no opportunity there. The client’s job is not to connect all of their business and political issues to the impact of your product, or service, or some combination therein. It’s not their job to walk you through the process. It’s your job to try to be as creative as possible.

But let me use a metaphor on this that we find pretty useful. It’s kind of like gold mining. And many times in gold mining, gold miners understand the logic of this, but all gold is located just above bedrock. But it’s pretty easy when you’re gold mining because your expectations may be, hey, after I’ve taken out the first two or three levels of topsoil, I should be starting to see gold. That’s not always the case.

As a matter of fact, most of the time, that’s not the case. You’ve got to go down to the deeper levels to find the gold. So what’s the solution to this relative to having an underwhelming meeting? Well, I’ll tell you what we do. And I’ll tell you what we coach our clients to do. This is where the diversity of your own team has a lot of meaning.

As soon as I’ve had a meeting, what I call underwhelming, where it hasn’t met the expectations that I thought were going to happen, I start to call my team. Especially ones that think differently– the quieter people on my team, the more technical people on my team, and ask them, hey, this is what I experienced. What do you think just happened in this meeting? And nine times out of 10 they’re going to go, did you ask this? Did you connect this dot? Did you really see that the client may have been kind of trying to communicate in a much more subtle way? And most of the time they’re right.

Most of the time that’s what I truly missed. Again, it’s my job to try to connect the business and political issues of the client with the impact of a practice. And that’s what I try to get across to our clients.

So next time you’re having a meeting, and you have your hopes set high– and it’s normal as human beings– slow down a little bit. And if it becomes an underwhelming meeting, don’t assume that there’s no opportunity. Maybe you should assume that you just need to dig deeper and get down to bedrock, because that’s where the gold is.

Thanks for listening, and be safe.

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