Friday Thoughts – March 26 – Getting the second meeting

By , 03/26/2010 2:11 PM

I guess I crossed the line last week… I apologize to all the bass fisherman for associating their noble sport with golf…….

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Ok, with a little luck and following some hints from How to get that elusive meeting, you scored a meeting with that super busy exec… now what ??

…. the first meeting is,…well,… just the first meeting – getting the second meeting depends on how the first meeting goes…….I made lots of mistake, here are a few things I picked up along the way that might help…….now I know this is really basic stuff, but sometimes we all forget the basics:

  1. 4X Prep – We often just wing it – that is a mistake….. for important meetings we should prep at least 4 times longer than the actual meeting. 15 min = 1 hour of prep.  And do the research – how did the company perform last quarter, what political contributions did the executive make, school, etc. etc. I recently discovered a new tool called Google – you might want to try it……..
  2. Don’t take a deck – For a first meeting you should write down the key messages, maybe prepare a document, but then leave it behind. Know the 3 key messages or issues. Rehearsing out loud is underrated…..
  3. Be 5 min early – too early implies you don’t have enough to do, being late implies you are, well, there is no other way to put it….. just stupid.
  4. Thank the assistant on the way in – He/she is the gatekeeper for all future access.
  5. Act like you belong – Excessive groveling, genuflecting, bowing, kissing of hands sends the message that you don’t feel like you belong. You do belong because you have insights and perspectives that will be valuable – otherwise you would not have asked for the time – you belong, act like you do.
  6. Drink your coffee black – My mentor Bob and I had made our way into the inner sanctum of an important CEO very early one morning… the assistant asked if we wanted coffee… Bob said yes, black. I responded with something a bit complicated. She brought Bob’s coffee right away, but then had to interrupt the CEO multiple times  to let me know they did not have 2% milk or something…… do everything you can to avoid distractions from the conversation……
  7. Don’t comment on pictures – some cheap $3 airport business  book on how to sell must have told people to spot a photo in someone’s  office and then comment on it to build rapport.“oh, I see you have 2 boys ?”
    “No, that photo was in it when I bought the frame and I just kept it.”
    That is a rookie mistake…and it shows….don’t do it in the first meeting….. or ever.
  8. Ask questions, listen – always open with a question – my favorite is “how’s business?”  Don’t make the chump mistake of trying to prove you did your home work  ……. “I noticed your revenue was 4.1% growth with a  2.7% drag due to foreign exchange offset by favorable tax treatment of the Surinam investment, blah, blah, blah”… it is obvious and annoying…. ask questions, listen, be subtle
  9. Don’t sell !! – I worked with a senior partner once who went into a meeting and listened to the client describe struggles with new product launches. I was surprised the partner did not mention the great work we had just done with another client. He just kept asking questions.. and then some more … and then some more….When the client asked him at the end of the meeting if we could help, he said, “I am not sure, I need to understand more.” I was shocked. …..The second meeting ended the same way… with the client slightly puzzled. After 2 more meetings we deeply understood the issues and the client was anxious for help. Don’t sell, listen.

10.  Don’t leave a hard copy – Resist the urge to leave behind a present… you can send it later with a short follow up note… creates another contact point….

11.  Leave early, leave early, leave early – even if you ignore everything else – follow this – the best way to get in again is to use their time very wisely and give them time back. Give the subtle signs of preparing to leave 5or 10 minutes before the scheduled end…watch for signs that they are ready for the meeting to end


Thank the assistant on your way out


I will be on vacation with my family in SC next week, we will have a mystery writer next week to discuss the weather…

Have a great weekend !!


Interesting Unrelated Thoughts:

– Pensacola, Florida (longitude -87.32) is farther west than Gills Rock, Wisconsin (longitude87.022) (Thanks Allison!)

– Average age of US Representatives (57.2) and senators (63.1) at the beginning of 2009 was among the highest ever. They range in age from 28 (Representative Aaron Schock, an Illinois Republican) to 92 (Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia).

Friday Thoughts – March 19 – Golf -so boring it should be abolished !!

By , 03/19/2010 2:22 PM


As you well know, I do my best to avoid sensitive issues …..but my conscious will no longer let me stand by in silence – I have an obligation to speak up. 

Professional golf should be abolished ……or its rules overhauled completely. Now I address this subject with great authority…..I played golf 5 times in 1980 and every year I watch 10 minutes of riveting golf action on TV.

Golf is a waste …..while they cleverly have named the holes “greens” golf is bad for the environment. Globally there are 35,000 golf courses at 175 acres each – that equates to the size of North Dakota. Each year $4.329 gajillion is spent maintaining these monstrosities. The toxic fertilizer, pesticide, herbicide and udecide runoff has been conclusively to global warming, credit crisis, male balding and Al-Qaeda . We cannot let this go on.

 If we are going to spend this money we should waste it on something everyone can agree on – like health care reform.  Interestingly, the savings of $4.239G is exactly what the GAO estimates to be the full cost of the pending healthcare bill. The courses could also be converted to something the environment could really use – landfills.

Golf is painfully boring – in terms of excitement it ranks up there with bass fishing, bowling and that brilliant Canadian invention “curling”.

We should not even consider golf a sport-

  1. No clock – a tournament takes 3 days !! With the exception of cricket(??) most sports finish in a couple of hours.
  2. Not physically demanding – they walk around in nice warm weather- and someone carries their bag for them!  I am not saying it doesn’t take strength and skill – it does – but so does ballet.
  3. No risk of physical danger – no defenders! The players never touch even touch each other ! No one keeping them from putting the ball in the hole – imagine a basket ball game with just one team on the court. For heaven’s sakes, even in chess you can block your opponent.
  4. Boring challenges– a patch of white smoothly raked sand is considered an obstacle! When the ball lands in a piece of 2” unmowed grass they call it “rough”  rough !!?!!
  5. No teams – golf completely solo – you alone versus the manicured grass!  
  6. Boring celebrations- the real sports world is filled with deeply meaningful rituals of triumph and victory –like pouring Gatorade on coaches, tearing down goal posts, throwing the ball into the ground, dancing in the end zone or rolling around in a big group in the middle of the field. Woods rocked the golf world with his dramatic fist pump….(YAWN). When the golf guys get really wild they put on green sport coats.
  7. Boring uniforms- they could all be models for JC Penney. I think the NBA requires at least 70% of all exposed skin to be tattooed. And NFL players get a bonus for shoulder length hair.
  8. Boring fans – I used to think fans were quiet so the player could concentrate when hitting the ball. Then I realized that the ball that is not even moving !!! How hard can it be?? And no one is trying to block their shot.  The fans aren’t being polite – they are sleeping !!
  9. Boring players – at least by relative measure…. in the NBA a player has to punch a fan, get shot or pull a gun on a team mate to make news headlines.

If we insist on keeping golf,  it must be fixed…. I suggest the World Wrestling Federation  or Ultimate Fighting Championships take over the PGA and make the following changes:

1)      Move the 18 holes into stadiums

2)      Move the tees to the greens

3)      4 or more players simultaneously start at each hole and play in opposite directions around the course

4)      Time limit – 3 hours, player with the most holes wins

5)      Fouls – Each player is penalized with a foul for blocking or tackling other golfers – each player gets a maximum of 5 fouls before being ejected.

6)      Real obstacles – for instance tar pits, alligators, land mines, a Republican minority or the media

7)      Each hole has a goalie – preferably a former pro hockey player

8)      New fans – golf  needs some real spirit – seed a few matches with borrowed Philadelphia Eagle or Manchester United fans to teach the golf fans how it is done – maybe the fans could be encouraged to go directly onto the course to help their favorite player.

9)      Uniforms – either 70% of their uniforms should be covered in sponsor logos like NASCAR drivers …or they should play in bikini underwear like wrestlers.

10)  Recruit colorful players – I would suggest John McEnroeDennis Rodman , Pete Rose, Mark Maguire, Gilbert Arenas, Terrell Owens, Michael Vick, Serena Williams, NHL’s Alex Ovechkin , NASCAR’s Carl Edwards

11)  Recruit colorful coaches and announcers –   Jeremiah Wright, Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Nancy Pelosi, Madonna, Lady Gaga…..

12)  Celebrations – all players should be required to dance after getting the ball in the hole – extra points could be awarded for creativity…. And get rid of the stupid green jackets.

Yes, that would make golf more interesting…..

We will have a mystery guest writer for Friday Thoughts next week…… I will be bass fishing in SC……

Have a great weekend,

New additions to the Friday Thoughts team
         – Golf Pro – Putnam Daily
         – Manager of Anger Management – Kirsten Hollard
         – Friday Thoughts Customer Service – Don Bothermy

Interesting Unrelated Facts:

  • Joseph Swan invented the light bulb, not Thomas Edison.( Dipak)
  • Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.(Andrea)

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