This email just in from a client whose meetings with a potential investor were taking too much time to get to the point, and the client, a startup, wanted to know how to deal with the issue.
My advice was that getting an angel to invest takes Time. They need to move at their own pace in order to feel comfortable with the startup. It's a matter of building Trust, and that takes Time. So, instead of getting the investor to change their behavior, it is more effective to change the startup's behavior to be more productive in the time available. Here's their follow up from our discussion:
Thank you so much for jumping on a call with me yesterday on such short notice. Your advice about not trying to directly tell this investor he needs to improve his communication skills helped me to save face, and ultimately will lead to me and this investor having a more productive relationship.
During our conversation, you provided me with a framework for what needs to be done before and after each meeting. I believe I understand what you've told me, but please make sure this framework is what you intended:
Before the meeting:
- Provide a detailed agenda, along with how long each agenda item should take
- Provide a hard stop time
After the meeting:
- In the follow-up email, make sure to provide my notes of what was discussed during the meeting. This way, if something was misunderstood, the other people in the meeting can correct it
The goal of these three points is to close the communication gap, as well as to show whomever I meet with that their time (and mine) is valuable. Additionally, in regards to the "before the meeting" section of the framework, it allows me to take control of the meeting before it even begins, and ensures that less time will be wasted.
After we discussed this framework, you also conveyed the importance of keeping my meeting times, and making sure I do not falter in holding up my commitments. You explained to me how this will improve my reputation, and show that I value people's time. I agree with everything you said.
I'm ashamed that I have not always held up my commitments with people whom I had meetings scheduled in the past, but, as you put it, I need to be a man of my word. Making sure I keep my commitments will now be of primary importance to me. I am very grateful that you illuminated how important this is.
You ended our call with asking how I would put these points into practice. I hope that with this email, I have already began. If this or any communication I have with you does not adhere to the framework you provided me, please tell me quickly and emphatically. I don't doubt that these techniques will quickly become a vital part of my reputation if I apply them effectively.