Generally, there are 3 types of meetings: for information, for coordination and for negotiation. In M&A, these types of meetings have their peculiarities due to their increased significance, and the strong personalities of the participants.

From our experience, there are three types of scenarios that can arise: the rational scenario, which is when the other party is open to listening to data and objective arguments; the leadership scenario, which occurs when, for whatever reason, one cannot compromise under any circumstances; and finally, the blocking scenario, which is when the other party is unyielding and unable to listen or find common ground.

In the rational scenario, solid arguments must be given and adequately presented. Avoid being frivolous and unprofessional… and if you are… realize that it is a symptom of how your career is evolving and, therefore, avoid the acquisition or hasten the sale depending on which side you are on. Similarly, don’t let your guard down because the other side will probably be on their toes… avoid overtalking, for example.

When you have to approach the meeting from a leadership position, either because you cannot give in or because the other party is suspicious due to past events, you cannot convince them with rational arguments. Instead, you should focus on understanding their perspective. The priority should be to get to know your interlocutor (via a common acquaintance) so that you can ask the right questions and, in this way, build a rapport with them based on trust. The other person might not accept the approach, but the goal is to leave a feeling of authenticity that will be the key in case the situation changes someday.

Curiously, meetings with an implicit blockage are very common because the nature of leaders leads to this situation: strongly rooted beliefs, complicated personalities, genetics, education… little can be done to modify this circumstance directly. In this case, looking for a third party to serve as a bridge is necessary, although sometimes, they can make the situation even worse. In this sense, enlisting the help of a respected third party with the requisite expertise and knowledge, such as a reputable consulting firm or a trusted lawyer, can be beneficial.

Written by Kamal Amade