Meetings are an important part of business however, they can be a total waste of time if you don’t complete the 5 Ingredients listed below.
1. Identify and Agree on Goal and Objectives
In any meeting, the goal and the objectives have to be defined and clearly articulated to the attendees. Not only does everyone need to know the goal and objectives they must be agreed upon. This will allow the conversation to be steered in the right direction and keep everyone focused. You have to determine by the end of the meeting whether the goal and objectives were met, if not why were they not met.
2. Identify all the Attendee’s Role and Stance
Having a meeting and not knowing all the attendee’s role and stance, is like popcorn with no salt or butter. It just does not hit the spot. An attendee’s role and stance can assist you in creating your strategy to bring them to your side or to help assist you in championing your proposal and closing the deal. In addition, it is very difficult to say you’re going to close a deal within a month and after a couple of meetings, you have not identified the decision makers. This is normally the first question I ask or get asked by my management team.
3. Document the Meeting
This may seem very basic, but you would be surprised how many times this is not done to the degree needed to make tactical and strategic decisions. Documenting the meeting is not only taking notes but, capturing the complete meeting. It’s capturing anything written on the whiteboard, level of participation of the meeting attendees. This does not have to be a novel but at least cliff notes. Most of all ask questions and listen to the responses.
4. Assign Next Steps or Action Items
Every meeting should have at least one Next Step or Action Item. One can be as basic as ‘Schedule Next Meeting’. A Next Step or Action Item will help drive the next meeting dialogue or make someone do something. If you don’t leave the meeting with at least one of the above, this puts you and the customer in limbo.
5. Distribute Meeting Notes
This goes without saying you have to distribute the meeting to the attendees and your team and extended team. There have to be two types of exports, Public and Private. Exporting the meeting should be painless and in a format easily read and understood. Public export is the one, which can go to all the meeting attendee. Private export is only intended for the account team and the extended management team. The Private will include such information at the Role, Stance and Level of Participation from the meeting attendee and will include any internal notes.
I hope these five ingredients ensure your meetings are productive and successful.