I'm Praveen Suthrum. After 13 years of building and running NextServices, a healthcare technology/management company, the challenges and opportunities in the industry leap out at me. I also get early access to industry trends and changes.

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Big meeting coming up? Here are 5 things to reflect on

Big meeting coming up? Here are 5 things to reflect on

That meeting is finally happening.

You are all over your prospect's LinkedIn page. You Google everything there is. And you prepare what you're going to say. You list out resistances. And think of counter arguments.

You dress your best. You practice how you'd introduce your company/product/yourself. In front the mirror. During your commute.

And yet...when the meeting finally happens, nothing happens.

You are left wondering why. What happened here.

So, here are 5 things to reflect on for your next big meeting.

1) It's not about you or your product or company

Without understanding what they are about, don't jump into your pitch. Your company. Your product.

Well, it's not about you, you, you.

It's about them.

What are their problems? What are their priorities now? What are their deep fears? And unsaid desires?

How confidently can you answer those questions right now?

2) Don't just research over the Internet

You can't understand someone through their social pages. You can't figure out what the company is about by reading their website. That's not research.

You begin to understand people or a company by understanding their environment.

Go and meet people who deal with your prospect. What do their customers think about them? What do people who work there say? What concerns their investors?

For a recent meeting with owners of a certain business, I flew in 4 hours ahead of time. And spent the day walking around and speaking to their customers and staff. I sat in several places for several minutes. Simply observing. I even ate lunch at their cafeteria.

It told me everything I wanted to know about the organization. Their business model. Operations. Challenges. Culture.

The meeting simply reinforced what I had already learnt. And because I inherently understood them, we connected easily. Next steps happened effortlessly and naturally.

Understand their story enough until you can develop your own point of view.

3) Stop making up stuff

I continue to be surprised that people make up stuff during meetings. About their products - nodding yes to features that don't exist. About their past - as though everything was a smooth sail. About their companies, finances, clients.

It goes on. Now, here's the rub. It brings with it the loss of trust.

You may think that faking it will take you further in that meeting. But for the discerning mind, it’s easy to spot patterns in your story that don't tie in neatly.

Your meeting is about establishing trust. A strong foundation for everything that’s to follow.

Misrepresentation will only take you farther away from that foundation of trust. The starting point of all relationships.

4) The main objective of this meeting is...the next meeting

Your meeting has a singular objective. For either party to find it meaningful enough to meet again.

The most common way ineffective meetings end is when they say: Let’s keep in touch.It means nothing. It simply means they aren’t sure enough to meet you again.

This usually happens when you've overwhelmed them with details that don't matter. You didn't engage them on areas that are important to them.

Next time, try this when someone asks you about your background. Tell them only those parts that are pertinent to their business. If you’ve managed to leave any impression, they’ll surely check you out or ask for more.

5) Remember, your story precedes you

The fate of your meeting has been decided even before your meeting. 

Your story precedes you.

Your story is the sum-total of all your actions so far. It's about people you've helped. People you've turned down. Your values. Risks you've taken. Decisions you've made.

In fact, your story - all of it - reflects in your presence. In that present moment. And somehow the person on the other side senses this. Make that story a good one.

And here’s a bonus...

We live in a world of meetings and more meetings. I know people who squeeze in every other hour of their day with meetings. More the merrier.

But what point does that serve? It almost feels as though they are trying to run away from something. By keeping busy.

May be they are running away from themselves. From listening to who they really are.

How about scheduling a meeting with yourself? Get to know that interesting person behind the mirror.

And have a little chat by asking: How are you? Where are you really going? Why? What do you really want?

Now that's a big meeting worth having.

Yes, healthcare is spiraling out of balance. But can we counter that?

Yes, healthcare is spiraling out of balance. But can we counter that?

Before you build that healthcare app. Draw a mango tree

Before you build that healthcare app. Draw a mango tree