Make Your Meeting CRIP Quick

The UK government has a national emergency set-up that involves a crisis management committee known as Cobra meetings.

The name is not from the venomous slithering reptile. Rather, prosaicly from the original location’s initials for such forums; cabinet office meeting room A.

Always a fine idea, it seems these are held to a rigidly 45-minute slot;

They are tightly structured to a pre-written “chair’s brief” … to get quickly to key decisions. The first step is the Common Recognised Information Picture, the CRIP, an agreed statement of facts – designed to prevent needless arguments about what is [happening] on the ground. CRIPs are put together in advance, and may well be the product of a considerable amount of work.

The Chair seeks key figures’ counsel and able to clarify any technical points straight away with others in attendance.

A good brief apparently warns of likely points of conflict or disagreements, even possibly suggesting ways through.

A Briefing Paper in advance of a sales meeting is a document I’ve laboured long and hard over myself in the past.

My experience is that they are a rarely deployed tool from the selling shed.

I suspect in part the effort involved precludes such production. Given for instance, scarcity of precious time.

Which is often quite the missed opportunity.

Does the CRIP offer a format to streamline such preparation for us?

Can you simply list a set of facts for which you feel there is broad agreement within your prospect?

A fact can be a stated position. Such as linking to a strategic aim of leadership.

A fact may be data. Such as numbers that outline the ‘problem’ or ‘solution’.

A fact may be an expressed opinion. What someone says about something.

Facts may not necessarily be what is known. They could relate to an acknowledged information gap. Something explicitly unknown at present.

In any case, how about constructing a straightforward list of these.

The agreement of which – and action plan duly developed around – would strengthen your cause.

You could even pop them into sections. To break the look of the page for ease of reading or appeal to role functionality.

And a single page is perhaps an ideal length to first aim for.

For specific critical deal meetings that form part of your repeatable success formula this may prove an indispensable part of your winning process.

Plastering ‘common recognised information picture’ as your heading might be a touch unwieldy.

Something like Current Facts Sheet sounds clearer for our purposes.

You could even be a little cheeky. Deliberately put in one that’s (slightly?) contentious. To gauge reaction and check who really read your page beforehand.

Note too the aspect to have this completed ahead of time. So that you also have another reason to call people inside your prospect to verify and create. A way better intro to any sales call over ‘just calling to see how it’s going…’ nonsense.

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