The first step in any meeting, any communication is building a rapport. If you begin right, there is a high chance you will succeed in achieving your goals or at least, begin with the ball in your court.
I was to meet 30 or more women from the village and had to engage them in an hour long conversation, talking about their kids, my school- our future. Here are a few points I put to use:
1. A genuine face (Grabs Attention) – I did not write smile because it sometimes works to frown. However, most times you are happy or glad at the meeting, so smile. Be genuine.
I started the meeting with a straight face, apologizing for the half hour delay on behalf of the women who arrived late and then a small anecdote on time. They now knew I wanted to talk facts, not just please. We were on track. However, I started my speech with that, I had entered smiling broadly- happy to see so many turn up!
2. Background study (Develops confidence which shows) – It sure goes a long way knowing the people you are about to face. It is ideal in a client meeting/ hiring process, though you can make it work in all situations.
Like, in the school meeting, I could not possibly gather information about the families/parents so I did this- As each parent settled down, I handed them books of their children to go through with an adjective best describing each child. I had prepared before. Thus, we immediately connected, because it turned out, their child was shy/ creative/ caring at home as well!!
3. A line about the weather/ latest news (Helps break the ice) – Sometimes, a little small talk helps in a big way to set the ground for further serious discussions. Of course you have to know and judge the people you are interacting with, but hey! We’ve discussed background study for that!
These are a few pointers I made after trying them at the school meeting and at other interactions. Each meeting/ communication is with a different purpose, however, the beginning of all can be similar- ‘good’ on your part!