Meetings: A Fair Exchange of Value

meeting values

We all have a lot of meeting requests. 

We want to meet customers, mentors, connections – however the diary seems constantly slammed to fit all these in. So, we often say ‘no’, or not get around to booking the more speculative ones.

Sometimes though, if we are the instigator of the meeting, we fail to secure meetings we really want because we haven’t been able to articulate a ‘fair exchange of value’ in order for the other person to prioritise the meeting.

What is a Fair Exchange of Value?

Imagine for a second, you are trying to sell to a new customer. You are bursting with ideas about how your company can make their organisation increase revenue, reduce risk, acquire new customers, cut costs, etc.

You approach your target and say:

‘Hey, I’d love to grab a coffee to connect’  - Or something similar and equally vague.

Soapbox: Now, I am going to sound harsh, the cost of coffee is approximately £2.50. The cost of your target’s time – will always be exponentially more than this.

So, the idea of a fair exchange of value is:

The value/insights I can share which will help you/your company vs 30 minutes of your time


Cost of coffee vs 30 minutes of your time

Now, if you know your target well and you have a relationship, often a coffee is fine – as they know the value they will get from your conversation – however – strangers will not know and less likely to say yes.

A fair exchange of value should apply to all meetings

This isn’t just a supplier / vendor rule – it should apply to all types of meetings – internal and external. 

Typically, in the past we have policed internal meetings with a clear agenda and a brief in advance, but still often many meetings are unclear and without this information.

We still operate in the mode of ‘what do I need from this meeting’ – rather than – ‘how can I ensure everyone gets value from the meeting’.

Same principal for meetings with mentors, sponsors, and non-paid coaches. Whilst these people often are offering their time to give back and don’t expect anything for themselves from the meeting, having a clear agenda and knowing they will be able to help you gives them some indication of value to you/them.

Don’t Hold Back on Value

If you have some clear value to give, don’t hold back in sharing some of the information. There is nothing worse than a meeting invite which sounds like a chore or a game.

Hey Sam, if we meet on Tuesday, I can share insights which will send your company into the stratosphere! (And, if not, I’ll keep the info to myself)

Relationships are built on give and take. To make friends, build trust with colleagues and customers, often it’s much more about giving in the beginning. 

Think about several ways you can give value to be top of mind, whilst building that new relationship.

Fair Exchange of Value Gives Everyone More Time

By having a clear agenda, which thinks about your audience plus your own needs, whilst sharing some insights in advance, ensures everyone understands the time commitment and returns involved.

Next time you reach out to someone on a whim, just think, ‘if I was them – what value would I be looking for’.

Unless they like Starbucks, I am certain it’s more than a coffee.

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