1. Build bridges.
Start off any meeting or business interaction with what you and the other person/team have as a common goal. Perhaps if you’re both in the same company, you both strive to drive revenue. Start out the meeting with that fact in common. If it is you and your manager, start out with meeting the corporate or department’s goals. And then work toward that goal together in your interaction, despite some differences, start with common ground.
2. Show respect and understanding.
Often misunderstandings are based on the other person doubting that you fully understand what their situation, goals and pressures are. Take a moment to think through the other person’s situation and articulate it back to them. Often, just by showing that you ‘get it’ it drives you closer together and helps in the process of working together.
3. Give something.
You know what your business partner wants and needs. Start out with a concession. Be the bigger person. If you’re selling into a company, offer them the new corporate discount right off the bat. If you’re an inside partner, offer them some help on a project. Show that you are willing to take the first step and offer something of value. It will further the business relationship.
Repeat back to the person you are meeting with that you fuller understand where they are coming from. Give a thorough explanations of their situation. So often people feel as though they are dealing with people who really don’t ‘get it’ . Show and tell that you DO get it. .Wow, finally someone understands!
5. Report in, often.
If it’s a business partner or a manager, communicate fully and regularly. Give at least a weekly update report of all your progress and accomplishments to date. You have no idea how many managers and business partners feel as though they are left ‘hanging’. Weekly reports to a committee, a group or to a manager are ideal, especially if you communicate the day that they can expect that update each week. If it’s a Wednesday, report, then report each Wednesday. Don’t skip a week. Be regular. Be consistent. Be thorough. It will be appreciated.
6. Establish clear roles and responsibilities.
If you are managing a project, be very clear and document, at the meeting and afterward, who is responsible, for what and when. Be very, very clear and let all involved know who is involved, for what and when. If there are teams, specify exactly who is on each team and what they are to deliver. Let the goals be known as well and any progress toward those goals.
7. Be sensitive to personal styles.
If you know that there are some extreme extroverts and introverts on the team, be sensitive to the way in which they are expected to contribute. Do not put anyone on the spot. Work to each team member’s strengths. Have the extroverts make the presentations to the group and have the introverts do the research and put their findings in writing for the group, or prepare the presentation for the extroverts who then give them the credit they deserve.
8. Share credit.
Show that the outcome is a group effort and show appreciation for all who contributed and how they contributed. Get recognition for all who were a part of the success. Send emails or personally written notes to show appreciation. If it’s by email, make sure the individual’s managers are copied so that the people can get the credit they deserve. People are very sensitive to be included in the recognition of the contributions. Honor that.