New Business Meeting Readiness: How to Plan the Relationship?

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“When we are planning for a conversation or meeting, typically we think about the task and objectives.  But how much time do we plan the relationship?…how can we connect at a deeper level…?”


These lines jumped out at me as I recently read excerpts of an interview conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) with Soon Ang, who is a recognized world authority in Cultural Intelligence and global leadership.

While the interview delves into Ang’s research and expertise in Cultural Intelligence, she points out that culture encompasses national culture – and so much more.

A range of diversity, like age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and many more factors are in play.

In agency new business, a lot of focus – a LOT of focus – goes into planning the meeting discussion and presentation, but indeed, how much time goes into planning for establishing a genuine connection and fostering that relationship?

As the CCL interview reflects, expatriates were those who were working with other cultures a decade or two ago.

Given all the cultural factors that include, and go beyond nationality, almost all of us need to be aware of them on a daily basis now.

This by no means calls for “walking on eggshells” around cultural sensitivities, but having awareness and respect for each other’s uniqueness.

Genuinely having such awareness and respect can be a differentiating strength in building deep, sustainable relationships.  This is true, regardless of the extent of cultural variables in play.

Keeping it “simple”, as you plan for your next agency new business meeting, will you also plan for the relationship?

One good reference is a post by Small Business Trends, 11 Ways to Build Solid, Strong, Lasting Business Relationships.  While this post doesn’t quite get to that notion of cultural awareness, it does offer strong recommendations for establishing strong, long-lasting business relationships.  Among them:

  • Be Authentic
  • Identify Shared Goals and Values
  • Build Mutual Respect


And, of course, time is a central component of relationship building.

The quote at the beginning of this post presents sort of a trick-question, “…how much time do we plan the relationship?”

Regardless of cultural variables, relationships develop over time. They don’t go from zero to “solid, strong, lasting” over the course of an introductory new business meeting.

Consider how to make a strong genuine connection that creates opportunity for the relationship to grow over time.

Make sure you are genuine and authentic from the outset…and always!

Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.