Framing up meetings – Part 1: Establish the context

Establishing context at the beginning of any meeting is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that the meeting is effective.  People need to know why they’re attending.  They need to understand what the meeting is intended to accomplish.  An agenda – which outlines the steps you’ll be taking to achieve that goal – is important, but it’s not enough to keep a meeting on track.  Engagement requires that all participants are working towards the same shared goal, and they can’t effectively do that unless they know what the goal is.

In a Discovery meeting, establishing a shared context with your clients is even more critical, because chances are that the context that they would otherwise ‘assume’ by default, based on their previous experiences, would be incorrect.  Pre-existing assumptions need to be set aside.  

The relationship you aim to develop with your clients will be different from the financial advice relationships they’re accustomed to.  In your new advice relationship, you’ll be focusing on the client’s objectives, not just their financial needs.  And it follows that the process you’ll be using in your Discovery meeting is not a ‘traditional financial planning’ meeting process.

By establishing a context for the Discovery meeting, you’re not only clearing the way for a productive Discovery meeting.  You’re also setting the stage for your performance to be measured by a new standard – the quality of your ongoing advice.

Image: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul /

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