6 Things You Must Do To Lead A Successful Meeting With a Client

by Lauren Schneidewind on January 4, 2016

We all want to get the most out of business meetings and to spend less time in pointless ones. One of the biggest time wasters from my time in corporate America was having to go to meeting after meeting after meeting. Some days I felt like I was never getting anything done because I was rushing from one meeting to the next.

On the flip side of constantly having to go to meetings, when I plan a meeting, efficiency and relevancy is key. For me, I never want attendants in my meetings to wonder why I am taking up their time. There are 6 things you must do to have an effective meeting.

Invitation Only

Invitation only has an illusive appeal to it, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not when it is another meeting invite coming through in our inbox. In an effort to reduce time wasted, I have learned the invitation required and optional sections are amazing tools to get the most out of meetings. I typically like to limit the amount of required individuals to key decision makers. The optional members tend to be a larger and varied group. By taking the time to separate the two groups, it gives people more of an idea of the expectations of the meeting. By having less people in the meeting, the meeting can be more efficient and effective regarding the overall goals. I also like to utilize the optional attendees as rather keeping them informed than actively involved since by following my own 6 rules of meeting etiquette I will be sending out a meeting agenda as well as meeting notes right after the meeting. This way, the optional attendees can be involved but do not have to spend the time sitting through a meeting. This is also a great place holder for executives and other key personal that need to know what is going on but do not have the bandwidth to sit through every meeting going on at the company.

Bullet Point Agenda

  • People tend to read bullets more than a paragraph
  • Send Agenda before meeting ** Invitees know what will be discussed and have time to prepare ** This cuts down on meeting time ** Get engagement prior to meeting
  • Maintains focus of the meeting
  • Provides meeting structure

How do you like the bullet points? I love them, they are more efficient to read and easier to write. I will state again, I love bullet points. If I could keep all of my writing to bullets, I would be happier and spend a lot less time working on my sentence structure. Then I could get back to running my business, which is what pays the bills. Let’s continue to our next step utilizing bullets!

Send Meeting Notes

  • Have a note taker ** Ideally not the meeting leader ** More impact with a person of authority taking the notes, people tend to take more notice by doing this ** Switch it up, make sure the same person is not always taking notes
  • Phone app, recorder, phone system, translator/scribe ** Dragon Dictate ** Evernote ** Dictaphone ** Phillips Dictation Recorder
  • Use Agenda as a guide
  • Send them the same day as meeting after you clean it up a bit
  • Assign action items ** Increases accountability ** More commitment

These meeting notes are incredibly valuable and reiterate the importance of the meeting. By taking the time to compile all of the meeting information together in one place, we feel vindicated and heard. On the flip side this is also a great place assign accountability as well. This puts positive peer involvement on task lists rather than just asking someone to do something. Peer support is a great motivating tool. This is highly used in my Entrepreneurs Organizations monthly peer meetings that increase accountability for us.

Listen And Hear What The Client Is Saying (Verbal And Nonverbal)

A meeting is a great time to get viewpoints of other people. I mean, that’s the point of a meeting right? Well, this can get lost in translation at times because we before fixated on getting our points across. We neglect what others are thinking. When meeting with a client or a prospective client meetings are an invaluable time to get much needed information about what they want, need, etc… A meeting whether over the phone or in person is also the time to pick up on all of that non-verbal communication as well. As they say, 90% of communication is non-verbal. So all of those emails back and forth are missing a large chunk of conversation. (On that note, sometimes picking up the phone for a quick chat is better than several texts back and forth).

Make The Meeting About The Client (Not How Awesome We Are)

While the main reason we set up a meeting might technically start off with us wanting something and trying to resolve an issue we have, the meeting needs to always be geared toward the client. Whether that is setting something up or simply checking in. We need to be aware that we have objectives that need to be met, but we need to complete them in a manner than is client focused rather than focused on us. We need to take ques (verbal and nonverbal) from our clients. We are technically leading the conversation, but they are in charge. It is a fine art playing this line, but the client should always feel in control, even when we are leading.

Leave The Conversion Geared Toward Future Success

  • Action Items with responsible party ** Ex: Write and send blog about running successful meetings- Lauren Schneidewind, January 5, 2016
  • Follow Through
  • Next Steps

Always look toward the future and act today. After all of the prep of the meeting and running a successful meeting, the final item to close it out is to continue to follow through. All of those action items were created, as the leader of the meeting; it is of utmost importance to follow through on every single action item. We are also assisting others in completing their items in a positive and helpful manner in the weeks following the meeting. It is fine to check in and see the status; I am a big fan of offering assistance as a means to start the conversation instead of putting someone on tilt for not completing something they committed to.

These 6 items might seem cumbersome at the start; however they become second nature once used consistently. Others will begin to notice your initiative and even emulate your meeting structure, which must mean that you're doing something right!

How do you run a meeting? Did I leave a key piece of information out? I would love to start a conversation!!!

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