Top Tips for a Productive Meeting
When running a business you may find that there are meetings going on almost 24/7 and you may be meeting with the same clients week after week. These repeat meetings could be due to the fact that information was missed or not explained properly. By following these tips you will soon find that your meetings will become more productive and in turn you will be spending more time working and less time in meetings.
1. Start on time
This can be hard to enforce with clients, we all know of the clients that phone up five minutes before the start time and ask for it to be moved to a later time or even date. However, by starting the meeting on time you then know how long you can work before anyone gets there and you can also try and predict the finishing time of the meeting. This can be useful if you have several meetings lined up in one day.
2. State your goals
By outlining your goals at the beginning of the meeting you will be able to keep everyone on task during the meeting. An example of a meeting goal with a client could be This meeting is to outline the products offered by us and obtain feedback on prices and quantities. This goal is vague enough that a meeting needs to take place in order to fulfil the needs of the goal but is also informative of the needs of the meeting.
An outline can be done in the form of preparation notes or a meeting agenda. However you decide to accomplish this is up to you, but you will soon be able to see that your meetings are much more productive once you start implementing this.
3. Keep the meeting small
You may think that having more opinions in a meeting can only be a good thing, however you may find that most of the participants will only be there as spectators and will fail to provide anything useful to the meeting. Due to this it is recommended that meetings are kept to between 5 and 9 people. In this size of meeting there will be enough of a gathering to get varied opinions and there will also be enough so that there are no spectators in the crowd.
4. Everyone walks away with something
This doesnt have to be structured notes that were pre-prepared, it could be something as simple as a business card or even an idea. Just something to make the client think of you during deliberation. If you and the client managed to get an idea started on where to go next then its more likely that theyll come back to you in order to finish the idea and see it through to completion. (Note: dont outline too much of the idea or they could take it to a competitor; say just enough to get them intrigued enough to come back to you). You could even write an action plan after the meeting on what will be completed and what the client can expect from you, as well as what you expect from them. This means there will be another point of contact and another opportunity to make them think of you.
5. Bring Solutions not problems
If youve been developing a product for a client then you may hit a brick wall in the development and need to talk to the client about how to proceed. Turn this into a positive not a negative. Rather than saying Oh sorry I cant see how we can proceed with this, it just wont work say something along the lines of In its current form it wont work, however if we change it slightly in this way then it should still work as proposed, it may just look a little different Here the client can see youve been thinking about how you get the product to work instead of pushing it on to the back burner and trying to ignore the problem.
6. Sometimes you need to get creative
Although it was mentioned above about creating an agenda but sometimes you just need to throw it out and have a meeting of ideas. An example of this could be that the client has brought in their own agenda, so now youre working towards two of them. You know what you want to get out of the meeting, but the client has their own needs. Sometimes they may be on the same lines but then at others you may find that they are very different, its basically like having two meetings in one. It just doesnt work. If you find yourself in this scenario just forget about having an agenda, throw the plan out the window, and see what your client wants from you. This way they can see that youre adaptable and willing to change when the need arises.
Theres no set way to how a meeting should go. Theres nothing set in stone about the steps meetings should follow. Your business should hold meetings how you want them held. Just make sure that the meetings are productive and everyone gets what they want from them.
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