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Most of the time, meeting up with clients, potential clients, or business partners is a real joy. It’s always exciting to brainstorm how you can help each other and work together for the best mutual outcome, and learn tips from each other

Let’s face it, in the world of small business owners, there seems to be much more camaraderie and a willingness to help than in the colder, corporate world.

But sometimes, it just doesn’t click. You might find you see things completely differently, are not on the same page at all, or simply don’t gel on a personal level. Myself, I know that there is a certain stage I reach – and have reached at least twice in the past four months – when I sit back at a meeting, and think, this is not going anywhere. How do I get out of here?

It’s kind of like a first date. The other person might be fine on the surface, but dig deeper and the signs are there he simply isn’t a fit, and you suddenly want to be at home, watching Home and Away with a cup of tea in your hand. Maybe he is rude to the waiter; eats with his mouth open; gets loud and sweary after his third beer – whatever it is, you know this interlude now has a line drawn firmly underneath it: not to be repeated.

Business meetings are the same, and the only answer is really upfront honesty. I have, in the past, due in large part to my feeble nature, sat for over an hour and a half listening to a man rave on about a project I didn’t really believe in, pooh-poohing any advice I offered, and, basically, listening to the sound of his own voice.

By the end of the meeting, I am sure we both knew we wouldn’t be meeting up again – but what is the etiquette here?

Should I have stretched, stood up, proffered a hand to shake, and said, “Sorry pal, I think you’re a bit of a lunatic and this is wasting our time?” Should I have stuck it out for another meeting, rowed, fought my corner and possibly come up with a compromise that worked for both of us?

Or was my way – gritting my teeth, smiling, and both promising we would “be in touch” before slinking away thanking the heavens it was over, really the only way to go about this?

Any help to share with me and other readers would, I am sure, be gladly appreciated.

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