How to Regain Control of a Meeting with Client After You Delivered Bad News

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If you are in a meeting with customers which has spiralled out of control after you gave them bad news (such as: “the project will have to be delayed by 6 months”, or “technically we cannot deliver the product with the exact spec you wanted but here are some alternative ways of achieving the same thing”) here are some ways to bring the meeting back on track:

1. If they keep saying: “so what, so what?” to everything you say or propose in the meeting.

Expressions to use consistently throughout meeting: “what we CAN DO is…”.

2. Show them you care about what this means for them and their timelines:

Expressions to use:

· What this means for you,

· This will impact you because

· You will be able to do X but not Y, we envisage you can do Y in 3 months’ time

· X happened, but we think Y can still be delivered on time but without Z feature.

· This would enable you to do A but not B, but only for the first 3 months. After 3 months we think you can get B as well because we are doing C to ensure this happens.

3. If the meeting keeps going in circles, say:

“We are doing everything we can, we have put XYZ in place so this is now on the right track, all we can do now is… If this is not suitable, what would be your suggestion given the this delay/challenge?”

Talk to us about your challenge:

The Geek Whisperer

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