Every time you interact with another person you have an opportunity. At a minimum you have an opportunity to build a relationship. Interactions with others are zero-sum. They either have a positive outcome or they have a negative outcome. There are no neutral interactions. You must prepare for each and every interaction you have with other people.
One of the things that separate people who have outstanding careers from those whose careers fail to live up to their expectations is preparation. Successful people are always well prepared. The most successful individuals even appeared to be prepared for seemingly random encounters.
The interaction of your goals with a strategic mindset will help point you in the direction for the meetings that you have planned. Once the meetings are set, you need to have a clear understanding of what you want get out of the meeting and how you best achieve that result. This is where preparation is essential. You must understand the other party in the meeting and their goals. The better you can help them achieve their goals and objectives the more likely the other party will be to help you achieve your goals.
Sun Tzu Said:
"With careful and detailed planning, one can win; with careless and less detailed planning, one cannot win. How much more certain is defeat if one does not plan at all! From the way planning is done beforehand, we can predict victory or defeat."
"For this reason, to win a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the hallmark of skill. The acme of skill is to subdue the enemy without even fighting."
I am routinely shocked by the lack of preparation that people exhibit when they go to a meeting. I cannot believe that individuals at all levels of management allow meetings to be placed on their calendar without knowing the background of the people who will be in attendance or the purpose of the meeting. I am also amazed at the lack of preparation of many teams in planning their own meeting strategy. This seems crazy to me.
To subdue the enemy without fighting, you must know what victory looks like. That involves preparation.
The first step is to know what you want to gain from an encounter.
The second step is to know what the other side wants to get out of the interaction.
Finding the point where the two interact – or even if they interact is the first step in winning.