• On the first call, thou shalt not mention your startup with a pronoun alone. “We are working on” – this is wrong. “Here at ABC Corp, we are working on…” or “Our big push here at ABC Corp is…”- this is right.  Disobey this, and forever go by What’s-Their-Name.
  • Thou shalt not NOT listen. In other words, thou shalt not speak more than 48% of the conversation.
  • Thou shalt not directly ask for suggestions on how to partner/collaborate/whatever you’re doing. Listen to them and then make suggestions… They will play off your suggestions and divulge the best partnership opportunity. It needs to be their idea if you plan to have a shot.
  • Thou shalt not mention your partner/potential partner’s competition in a manner that suggests admiration. This doesn’t mean you have to bash their competition or ignore their existence… Just don’t rub Christina Aguilera singing ability in Britney Spears’ face.
  • Thou shalt be on the call 5 minutes early, minimum.
  • Thou shalt not make the call longer than it needs to be. If the call is scheduled for 1 hour and you’ve gotten to your last few points in 10 minutes, that’s great! The shorter the better!
  • Thou shalt not forget to send follow-up e-mails highlighting the key takeaways of the call.
  • Thou shalt not try to set up a WebEx or GoToMeeting after a call already has started.
  • Thou shalt not interrupt your own team members or the client/partner.
  • Thou shalt not forget that you’re a startup. You must prove yourself, but part of that is just remembering the 10 commandments and simply being professional… You don’t have to play yourself up and inflate your own balloon. Let your partner do that. “We’re great because we work with XYZ company” mindset is bad…  the “We had positive results from our work with XYZ” mindset is good… and they are very different. If you don’t get this difference, ask someone, and get answers before taking your next call.
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