1. Remember the details of the first meeting. This is also the golden rule of being a good conversationalist or customer oriented–company. People are irritated when they have to repeat themselves. If you don't give them your respect and full attention, why should they do the same for you? One way to do this is to journal the details of any great first impression. Note what was said, what was learned and how people felt about the conversation. Names are the most important thing to remember, especially those of the family and friends of your meeting partners. If you learned something from the last meeting, start at that piece of insight during the second meeting.
2. Try not to repeat yourself too much. Everyone has his or her "greatest hits" of stories, jokes and observations. In many situations, this arsenal of entertainment produces a great first meeting. Your homespun story may make people laugh till they cry the first time, but the second time you tell them, they will check their email on their BlackBerry. Prior to the second meeting, recollect the details of the first. I always have a bullet-point outline of my meeting or talk, including what stories or jokes I told and even what I wore that day! Bring some novelty to the second time around by bringing some fresh content.
Be willing to take requests if you are asked to repeat parts of your first meeting for new eyes and ears.
3. Over prepare. As much as you prepped yourself for the first meeting, give as much or more effort for the second. Conditions change, audiences change and contemporary events change your value proposition/premise. Before the second meeting, research these changes and let the dialogue from meeting one give you fodder for a much deeper dive into the details in preparation for meeting two.
4. Be grateful for the chance to meet again. If it's a meeting for business, be grateful for the airtime. For your best potential partners, time is worth more than money. Same goes for paid engagements (from consulting to services). It's a tough market out there, and you should give some extra heart to people who give you double repeat business. Don't take them for granted or think you are some kind gift to the world that they're giving homage to. Be very humble about the encore and show some real gratitude. Meditate for a minute on it when you first wake up the day of the second meeting.
5. Take it to the next level. Don't just think of this as another meeting. Life is short, so do your best to convert this warm and fuzzy transaction into a powerful relationship. Raise the bar on your encore performance. In business, move from getting-to-know-you to let's-make-something happen-now. In personal situations, move from getting-to-know you to some kind of real progress in the relationship.
Here's my promise: If you'll add this to your arsenal of relationship-building wisdom, you'll have a real advantage over those who are only interested is making a good first impression.
How did my second meeting with that CEO go? Much better than the first, and I think we are now in biz-love.
Have you had a second meeting that didn't live up to the first? Share your story below.
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