|If you want to hit curveballs instead of letting them hit you, the best step is to anticipate them and then practice in advance. |
At first, it sounds strange to practice for a meeting, but this is simply part of preparation. Some of the best salespeople use a tactic called the "what-if" game before every sales presentation. They try to come up with the worst and most difficult questions that a customer could ever ask, and then they sculpt the best possible answers. But that's not all. They practice these answers. In some cases they will even go as far as to write out perfect responses and then rehearse them until they flow perfectly.
Before those meetings with your manager, the best step is to step up your practice. Take the information you want to present or discuss at these meetings and look at it from your manager's perspective. It should not be difficult to come up with curveball questions. Once you do, you will have the luxury of time to develop some hard-hitting answers. The final step is to practice them, even in front of a mirror.
With this type of preparation and practice, you'll be ready for hardball.