The Cool / Teller
That meeting went really well; I knew straight away I was dealing with a Cool / Teller. Her office was tidy, coordinated and functional. Not too many personal items on display with a neat row of files on the return to her desk.
Her greeting was formal; no ‘hail-fellow-well-met’ reception from this lady. She was dressed conservatively and, giving me a firm handshake, looked me directly in the eye. With just a hint of a smile, she gestured for me to sit on the chair before her desk.
But the real clue was how quickly she wanted to get down to business. She was polite and spoke with quiet authority, never giving away much emotion at all. She made it clear from the outset she could only allow the twenty minutes we had agreed over the telephone. Sitting upright in her high back leather chair she looked directly at me and asked what I thought I could do for her. I reminded her that this meeting had come about because a colleague had recommended we meet and with twenty minutes in mind I suggested it might be sensible if I noted her opening questions; what she particularly wanted to get out of this meeting. This was well received.
Cool / Tellers don’t like to be caught ‘off-guard’. They want to know they can rely on those they have ‘on-their-team’ to deliver what they want when they want it. They want to be in control and formulating a working agenda at the outset gives them the focus to direct events. I could see getting quickly to the purpose of our meeting was respected. I left my briefcase next to my chair just in case she wanted hard evidence of my credentials. Confirming her agenda I asked where she wanted to begin.
She chose a heading stating it would be a sensible starting point and I opened with a soft-question that allowed her to probe me with “What do you mean?” This ‘invitation’ gave me permission to offer more information through more soft-questions.
After twenty minutes we had discovered and agreed what she wanted to explore. I paused reminding her that my time had elapsed. With a small smile of acknowledgment she glanced at her wristwatch and said she could allow a further ten minutes, but would have to arrange another time should this meeting fail to ‘conclude’. I used this extra time by asking her to describe her role in more detail so that I could fully comprehend what she does, what worked for her and what might be improved. Apart from making general background notes we never did start a formal fact-find.
At the conclusion of this meeting, she said she thought I had displayed a reasonable grasp of her situation and agreed to meet again in two days at the same time and place. I said I would email confirmation of that meeting and attach an outline agenda based on the things we had begun to explore today. This was well received.
Cool / Tellers want meaningful specifics; not wandering generalities. They want their time used effectively and I could expect more of the same during the next meeting.