Are you a time waster or value creator?
"Yay, another meeting!" said no one ever. Why don't we like meetings? Because we are busy and the content of most meetings can be handled by memo or email. In short, we don't feel that most meetings are productive use of our time. Sarah's meetings were different. They provided value, they covered important issues and they started and ended on time. What was the difference between most meetings and Sarah's meetings?
Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development, RAB
Sarah was our top biller. She was driven, she was passionate and she cared deeply about her clients. When Sarah would schedule a meeting with a client or even an internal meeting with me or others, she would always send an agenda in advance.
Sounds simple, but by preparing an agenda in advance, you respect the time of meeting participants, you are showing respect for their time and you are making sure the important issues are covered and you avoid unnecessary tangents.
In James A. Muir's book, The Perfect Close, he says:
It is unprofessional not to have a meeting agenda. It sends the message that you are a time waster and not a value creator. Nonprofessionals dismiss having an agenda and just wing it. That is a big mistake. A well-crafted agenda will have a strong impact on the outcome of a meeting.
The are other benefits to sending a meeting agenda in advance to your clients:
It differentiates you from other sellers in the market.
It ensures that you cover the topics you want to cover.
It shows the client you are organized and respectful of their time.
It makes meetings far more productive and enjoyable.
Agendas set expectations and allow us to meet those expectations.
After every meeting, Muir suggests you do three things:
Review the agreed-upon action items for all parties in the meeting.
Thank the participants for their time.
Set the next meeting date and time.
It's also a good idea (frequency) to send a follow-up email when you are back in the office outlining those three things.
If you don't send an agenda in advance, you could be perceived as a time waster. This is likely why it's getting even harder to get meetings with clients and prospects than ever. Who doesn't like a meeting when they walk away with value? The simple task of sending an agenda in advance can shift your meetings from time-wasters to value creators.
Managers, you might consider modeling this behavior for your teams by sending an agenda in advance of your upcoming internal meetings. The reaction will be positive, and you can then use it as a teaching moment to suggest they do the same for their clients and prospects.
Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at jeff.Schmidt@Rab.com or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.