When we talk about well formed outcomes, it is really just another phrase for the goals we want to achieve. It’s a bit like setting an agenda for a business meeting.
The reason for doing this preparation and setting out your goals in advance of your meeting or phone call, are to give you time to breathe. Get all your thoughts down on paper, streamline them and attend with a clear head. It won’t take away your feelings or emotions and I can’t promise you won’t still cry but you will get what you need out of the meeting and that will be a positive outcome. By knowing what you want and what you need to discuss it will provide you with a calm empowered feeling.
During the workshop, we talked about getting into a good frame of mind/resourceful state. If the thought of doing this goal exercise makes you feel stressed, then using that technique before you proceed could really help.
In order to define your goals, it is a good idea to work through each one of the following points.
- What do I want? State it POSITIVELY. Choose 3 goals, more if you have them.
It is very easy to think about what we don’t want or what we think we can’t achieve. It used to be very easy for me to say “I don’t want to come away from this meeting with the Neurologist, without having understood x,y &z.” I decided, although just words, I would change my internal dialogue to “I want to come away from this meeting with the Neurologist having understood x,y & Z.” There is a subtle difference. The difference is the positive framing and that I have now (without probably realising it) made a commitment to myself. I will only leave the meeting when I have the information I need.
2. As yourself, What do I need to achieve these goals?
You might not know the answers but give it some thought. It helps you be prepared and it might mean you need to do some research before the meeting. It could be anything from, buy in from the therapist, a case study to put forward as leverage, evidence or confirmation of available budget.
3. What is REALISTIC to achieve at this meeting?
Find out who you are meeting with. It is ok to ask the receptionist or their colleague what the persons job title is and what their responsibilities are. Don’t forget, they all know what your position is. Parent of the child you are there to discuss and that child’s EXPERT. (What they don’t yet realise is that you are also a Velvet Bulldozer.)
If you are meeting with the head of department, you are are more likely to receive a definite answer or the information you need. If you are meeting with the junior, you most likely won’t. It might therefore be more realistic to ensure that you have been heard, notes have been taken and a date has been agreed for when you will receive an answer. Agree the next step. If you are not meeting the decision maker, always ask who that is.
You can’t fail at this. There really is no such thing as failure when you are trying your best. Every small step is a step in the right direction. Don’t doubt yourself. In my mind, the only time we can fail is when we take no action at all.
A couple of brilliant points that were shared in the workshops for assisting with these meetings were:
Taking a friend or relative with you. Perhaps someone who is impartial. It isn’t always easy to remember everything or write everything down. Another pair of eyes and ears can be really beneficial.
If you do find it a challenge to recall everything and you perhaps you don’t have a buddy to take with you, you could record the meeting. Tell the people you are seeing that you need to do this and the reasons why and there should be no reason why it wouldn’t be allowed.
You’ve got this!