Make the First Five Minutes Count

You have an appointment with your new project sponsor, potential customer, or new partner.  You have never met them before.  What does the first 5 minutes of your first meeting look like?

If you are like the majority of the population, you will run an efficient, professional meeting that nets you the information you need to make this project work.  Great job!  But you blew it.

The first five minutes of any first meeting sets a framework for the relationship to come. First impressions are critical and it’s important to set a proper foundation.  

What do you think your audience of one is thinking as you meet?  Answer that, and you will walk out of that meeting much further ahead than you would otherwise.   

As a client or project sponsor, I have a few concerns before I meet you:

  1. Are you up to the task?  Do you have what it will take to make this project happen on time, on budget and on scope?
  2. Are you well organized? Will you be on top of all the issues and punctual with your deliverables?  
  3. Will you be good to work with – adding value to your role as a project manager?   Interesting, inquisitive and even fun?  Yes… fun. 

So, knowing that, what does your first five minutes look like?

  1. You are on time… not a minute late and not early. Time is critical to both me and you and we cannot waste any of it.
  2. You will come in with an agenda.  You even sent a copy to me the day before – not the hour before.  The gesture is good and sends a strong message, but if it comes to me the hour before, I will have no time to read it and it tells me you are a ‘last-minute action’ person.
  3. You will take a few minutes to ‘find the common thread’ – working on establishing some kind of connection beyond the project.

Three key tips for your first meeting with a client or sponsor.   Within five minutes, I can tell:

  • if you are up to the task
  • if you are organized
  • and if you will be good, and even fun, to work with

Make the First Five Minutes Count

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