Be valuable, not grateful

21st February 2023

In business, people want you to be valuable, not grateful.

But the way many people start interactions is too grateful/apologetic:

  • Thank you for sparing the time to see me
  • I’m sorry to trouble you
  • Don’t worry – I won’t take long
  • You’ve given me 30 minutes. But I think I might be able to finish within 20 for you

All of these are perfectly polite. But there’s no value-add. We know First Impressions are critical. But all these are too grateful.

So instead, start by sounding like their valuable equal:

  • I’ve been looking forward to our meeting – how are you?
  • I’m glad I caught you
  • When we met last time, you said that X was a priority for you. I’ve found some new things that will help us with that…
  • In preparing for today’s meeting, I found two new things I wasn’t expecting. Do you mind if I quicky share them with you now?

All these are as polite as the first list. But they are much more valuable.

I can always tell when I’ve started a meeting well. Because the other person sounds enthusiastic immediately – “That sounds great. What have you got to show me?, or “I’ve been looking forward to it too”.

Which is much better than the only response to “thank you for sparing the time to see me”…

… which is “you’re welcome. Aren’t I generous giving some of my precious time to you”!

Action Point

In your next meeting, you want your opening to be:

  • Polite, and
  • Value-adding

Therefore, before it, decide how you’ll introduce yourself. Such that they instantly think “I’m glad I’m seeing you”.

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