I’ve had dozens and dozens of meetings with VCs and potential partners, including IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Fujitsu and many no longer with us like Lotus, WordPerfect and Ashton-Tate.
Here’s a few tips when meeting with these VIPs in their offices.
- Get there early to observe the company culture. You can learn a lot by sitting and watching how people interact and what their demeanor is. Be sure to leave plenty of time to find visitor parking if you drive and allow time to find the office itself.
- If you will be doing a presentation set up your laptop and make sure it works well with the video projector, including color and aspect ration. Test out any sounds in your presentation as well.
- Bring dongles for connecting your laptop to the video projector. More time is wasted getting laptops to work with video projectors than any other aspect of meetings. Often larger companies will have someone knowledgeable around to help you, but don’t count on it.
- Bring printouts of your presentation just in case technology fails you. But DO NOT hand these out ahead of time or your audience will be skimming your presentation instead of listening to you.
- It really helps to get to know the AA to the VIP you will be meeting with ahead of time. Admins keep schedules, arrange for conference rooms, troubleshoot video projectors and lots more. They can help make or break your meeting. Treat admin staff with the respect they deserve.
- Leave just before your time is up – always leave them wanting more. If they want you to stay past the meeting close they will say so.
- Make sure you have a call to action to close the meeting – even if it’s only to get the next meeting.
- Follow up your meeting ASAP with an email summary. If something really good happens at the meeting, like a signed contract, follow up with a handwritten card.
- See my previous post on why it’s beneficial to have two people from your company at VIP type meetings.