The idea of talking to, or meeting with and decision maker in a big brand fills most people with absolute dread – in fact there is a considerable list of things they’d rather be doing than having conversations with managers and executives in large organisations.
It’s understandable. There’s something about being in the presence of people in power that immediately switches on the ‘inadequacy’ feeling inside of us. We feel inferior and very often quite intimidated. Of course, the higher up the corporate ladder that person sits or the more successful they are, the more we doubt ourselves and everything we’ve worked on that has lead to this very moment.
However, it’s in that very moment that you need to remember that the person facing you (or on the other end of the phone) is just as HUMAN as you are. Behind that smiley (or stern) persona is someone who has worries, fears and insecurities of their own. They feel inferior in the presence of their bosses and inadequate amongst their peers. Yep, these people in positions of authority in big companies are just like you. Now, how do we stop our hearts from beating out of our chest when we come into contact with decision makers?
- Take deep breaths and stay hydrated. Seems obvious, but 5 seconds of deep breathing works wonders for re-regulating your body and overcoming panic when it sets in. Similarly, having small sips of water before you start talking will ensure your throat doesn’t end up dry and cracking mid sentence (don’t gulp loads of water though – there’s nothing worse than really needing to pee half way through the crucial conversation)
- See the decision maker as your equal. You have something of value that they are interested in. If they weren’t interested they wouldn’t have given you the opportunity to talk to them. Talk to them as if they were more of a friend (stay professional of course), and when you’re having the conversation don’t think of it as a sales or sponsorship pitch, think of it as an opportunity to help them access that thing of value you have that they are interested in. Keep it ‘advisory’.
- Remember that in your field, you are the expert. In order to be seen as an expert you don’t need to know everything, you just need to know a little more about your field/industry/market than the decision maker. Make sure you’re as prepared as you possibly can be by swotting up beforehand and identify opportunities where you can help to elevate their business or brand. That’s ultimately what your decision maker needs from you in order to move forward.
So, leave the sweaty palms at home/in the Uber/in Starbucks because whilst fear is real for us all, it’s a completely unnecessary feeling and you can certainly override it before that all important telephone or face to face conversation. You’re a super important person and what you have to offer is extremely valuable to the big brands you align with. Now show ’em what you’re made of and let me know how you get on!