Last week, while teaching a client workshop, one of the participants verbalized a great way to think about business meetings… specifically, a great way to think about the level of information you need to be able to discuss. The participant described the difference between an “index card meeting” and a “full binder meeting.” Some meetings are high-level only… an “index card meeting.” Some meetings are all about the details… a “full binder meeting.”
I love this… a brilliant way to describe the difference.
We all know that some meetings remain at a very high level of information, and other meetings dive deep into the details. The “altitude” of your meeting depends on a few variables: level of seniority of the audience, level of expertise/familiarity with the concept from the audience, and (as always) time.
Some audiences want and require the details, and others only want the macro.
So how do you know what kind of meeting it is? Learn about this audience as much as possible. Pay attention to what happened the last few times you met with them. If you are meeting with them for the first time, ask questions of those who might have met with them before.
And if you are legitimately not sure, then go in ready with the index card AND the full binder. Lead with the index card, and dive into the full binder as time allows and interest level dictates.