How to Prepare for a Meeting without Getting Eaten Alive

October 16, 2012

How to prepare for a meeting“How to Prepare for a Meeting without Getting Eaten Alive” should be the name of one of Harvey Mackay’s books. Late last week I was having breakfast with my dear friend Ken Fink, who does wealth management for billionaires. He said that Harvey Mackay’s CEO round table group is by far the best gathering of minds and insights he has ever been part of in his career. When I asked why it was so special, he said it is all about Harvey’s preparation. He researches those attending and crafts the agenda around them. He selects speakers who will move participants to a new level of performance.

How to prepare for a meeting–the Harvey Mackay way

I have experienced Harvey’s level of preparedness firsthand. A number of months ago, I was giving a speech at the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship, which is part of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. I was asked by John Stavig if I would like to attend Harvey MacKay’s speech after mine and then grab some lunch. I agreed because Harvey’s speeches are always a treat. In between speeches, I bumped into Harvey in the men’s room. I have met him several times as our businesses had done work together, but he had no reason to remember me; I am sure he has not done the Mackay 66 on me. I reintroduced myself and we went our separate ways–for him the podium, for me the audience. Halfway through the speech, Harvey is talking about how you get prepared before a meeting to know your prospect and how quickly this can be done. All of a sudden, he says my name. He says, “About 20 minutes ago I met Gary Cohen in the bathroom while washing up, and since that time I did a little research on him.” He proceeded to go on for at least five minutes as if he was introducing me, my wife and kids to the audience. Some of the information he shared could be easily obtained, but some of it wasn’t exactly public knowledge. I was blown away by his level of intelligence on me. A week later, I am describing this scene to some friends over diner when my wife turns to me and says, “Harvey did not just get that information. His assistant called me two weeks ago and asked me a load of questions about you and the family.”

Preparation is Harvey’s key to wowing audiences, customers, and friends. How prepared are you for your next meeting?

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