Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How Business is Done

Over Christmas break, I had the chance to go with my dad to a business meeting. I like keeping up with my dad's work - he's a mechanical engineer just like me, (or maybe I'm just like him?) so what he's doing is generally interesting to me. Plus, he's got an entrepreneurial bent (okay, so maybe I am just like him) so I enjoy watching how he handles all the projects and ideas he's got going.

This particular meeting was with several people besides myself - my dad, my dad's vice president, the interested finance guy, and the go-between who set the meeting up. We started by giving the interested guy a tour, and then we all went to lunch for more discussion.

Now, I was there for the whole thing. I listened carefully, I tried to understand everything that was said, and tease out the meaning behind the conversation. I thought I did a pretty good job of observation.

And then, the interested finance guy had to leave. So we sat around the table, and everyone discussed things about that guy. "Well you know, he really meant such and such...", or "His intentions are probably this and that....", and "Given his background in so-and-so, it's likely he will propose x and y....". Gees! I hadn't caught any of that during the whole morning.

A bit later, the go-between departed and my dad and his vice-president discussed the outcomes of the meeting. And again, it was all new to me. "We'll have to wait and see if they offer choice A or B, but we both know it's probably going to be choice C..." and "I'm not sure if that was really based on fact..." and "I wonder if they are trying to go behind us to do unethical thing 1 or 2...."

So I missed all of the business-speak. I am well versed in academic-speak, and parsing out the meaning of technical speakers or seminar talks.

But I think now, if I attend a business meeting again, I would be much more prepared. The probing questions by both sides, the feeling out of where each side stands. The suggestions, the ideas tossed out to test a reaction. The intentions behind the discussion, the information used for leverage.

I am hoping that my dad updates me on the outcome of the meeting and any further discussion, as I am interested to hear where things actually go.

Because after all, as my dad said as we drove home, "That's how it's done."

And I would love to learn to do that too.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Ms. O. And thank you so much for commenting on my blog. I love this post. It reminded me of my life at one time, when I would accompany my Father on his daily sales meetings. I would sit quietly with a note pad, listen and write down my thoughts as the meetings wore on. Trying to "tease" out buying questions, closing techniques, and who was thinking one thing and saying another. Interestingly, we're talking about 98% Men in such meetings. They created this other language, and of course it still makes the business world go round. Sounds like you're catching on quickly. On another note, hope you don't get the impression I'm a comment stalker. I've been working hard at growing my following on Samwich365, and conducted an experiment over 7 days which yielded more than 40 new followers. A huge plus was finding some fabulous blogs like yours. Thanks again, Keri