Meetings are great opportunities to share information with your team members, teach them a new skill, motivate them to higher achievement and give them a chance to sound off. Conduct your next meeting according to these guidelines to be sure your team gets all they can out of it.
1. Weigh costs versus benefits. Ask yourself exactly why you are calling the meeting, what you hope to accomplish and how your team will benefit. Let the money you spend on the meeting reflect its importance. To build excitement for a brand-new product that’s expected to have a huge impact on sales, invest more money in the meeting to emphasize the importance of its purpose.
2. Make sure key people attend. If the right people can’t come to the meeting, reschedule. Decide who really needs to attend and hold the meeting when it’s convenient for everyone. Distribute a memo with several meeting time choices, then have team members circle the time that suits them and return the memo.
3. Share objectives, agendas and expected outcomes. Distribute a list of specific meeting topics and invite attendees to bring their own questions and comments. Also, increase salespeople’s interest in and ownership of the meeting by letting them contribute to the agenda. Encourage salespeople to take the agenda seriously by sticking to it during the meeting.
4. Set ground rules. Set a rule for yourself to begin and end meetings on time. Prohibit side conversations and emphasize that everyone may contribute and that all opinions are welcome. Tell attendees to come prepared so they can get more out of the meeting. Be a role model and observe all the rules you set for others.
5. Assign meeting roles. To make your meeting run smoothly, choose several attendees to increase productivity. A facilitator unobtrusively helps the group focus on given tasks, helps balance the content, supports the ground rules and brings closure. A recorder writes down, for all to see, the key ideas discussed and records important issues not on the agenda on a “parking lot” chart. The timekeeper keeps the meeting on schedule by periodically noting the time remaining.
6. Evaluate the meeting. Answer the following questions objectively.
Keep your answers specific, and look for the reasons behind them. If the meeting wasn’t focused and productive, identify the people, distractions, interruptions, etc., that made it unproductive.