In my experience of meeting with companies and colleagues in the startup / early stage venture community, I found that meetings were great to learn about each other, but quickly realized that connections are not made if action items do not follow.
Entrepreneurs and peers alike do not always have this element when wrapping up a meeting. To ensure that some value is driven from our meeting, I hold the attendees accountable (myself included):
- What’s next?
- What do you need from me?
- What are your expectations?
- Setting and managing expectations is very important.
I do this for diligence sessions, quarterly friendly meetups, and all of those introductory coffee and tea meetings.
If you need something:
- Ask for next steps
- Discuss what you should expect from the person that you are making the request
- Be sure that you address any questions you had going into the meeting
If you have something to offer:
- Ask: What do you need from me? How can I help?
- Establish what they should expect from you
- Note the time as it can move rather quickly
- Learn something from the other person
- Have Fun!