Ten Rules for Successful Meetings

By Wes Van Slyke

1) Break up your meeting into three parts. First, recognize efforts and praise performance.Second, show your appreciation and follow with an analysis of marketing challenges and strategies to successfully handle them. Third, solicit comments and problems in advance of the general meeting, then present solutions at the meeting for everyone’s benefit.

2) Inform and train with news of new products, markets, personnel, sales contests and campaigns. Divide and schedule topics into several meeting agendas. In addition to special-focus topics; stress attitude, initiative, diligence and success at every sales meeting. Maintain attention by role-playing, humor and participant surveys.

3) Conduct a motivational presentation and issue a challenge. Summarize meeting highlights and follow with praise and challenges to new heights of performance. Done effectively, your salespeople will leave energized, optimistic and ready to sell.

4) Schedule your meeting appropriately. Be aware of the body’s tendency to look forward to the weekend and to suffer Monday morning blahs. Make fresh coffee (and alternate beverages for non-coffee drinkers) available at the meeting.

5) Meeting rooms should be air-conditioned and sheltered from outside noise. Speakers should vary their tone and volume. Avoid droning, monotonous audio materials as these kill concentration and enthusiasm.

6) Invite attendees to stretch frequently to prevent stiff joints and sleepiness. Remember that the best prescription for alertness is an exciting, motivating program, so devote your efforts to this end.

7) Experiment with different times and places for your sales meetings. A different setting provides a breath of fresh air.

8) Add excitement with a sequence of interesting topics, building in pizzazz and challenge. Start off with an exciting topic to provide you with the momentum to cover some less exciting but equally necessary subjects. Always end with the meeting’s most important issue.

9) Conduct your meeting in an upbeat, motivating style. Appoint someone to record salespeople’s questions that need research. Arrive early and dress appropriately. You are the leader. Be gracious in your manners. Whether you like it or not, you are a role model, so act like one.

10) Make your sales meetings worth the time salespeople take away from selling by investing some time and effort in the entire process. Your ultimate goal should be to enhance the selling effort through effective meetings that solve problems, bring out hidden issues and motivate salespeople to go back to the field renewed and refreshed.