Preparation is imperative in any meeting or workshop that a consultant organises.
This includes preparing and briefing participants, so that they might read the brief, or prepare/bring along artefacts that are necessary for any discussion.
As a Consultant, we need to make sure that we do everything we can to optimise the time when we are in front of the client – requirements workshop, for a show & tell, a solution playback, whatever.
There should never be any surprises (unless it’s a pleasant one!) during client meetings.
If a sticky situation might cause conflict during the meeting/workshop, consider having a call with the individual beforehand so that you can brief them and prepare them.
Any flying fur should be dealt with at that time, instead of in front of a wider group of audience.
Use tact and diplomacy to de-escalate the situation, and perhaps bring them around to your side before the main meeting/workshop.
Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Don’t get caught with your pants down.
Take command of the agenda.
As Consultants, we must always do our homework.
The ‘pants-down’ look is not a good one.