Poorly Run Meetings Kill Smiles and Sales.
Lets face it. Not all meetings deliver happy faces and worse poorly run meetings waste time, kill attendee interest and cost everyone money. Poorly run meetings may be one of the worst management mistakes that are made everyday.
As a manager your job is to create an efficient work environment and system. I’ve always believed that meeting management is one of the first places to start. It should be ingrained into your company’s culture.
In 1986 I moved from New York to run the Minneapolis office of advertising agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample and to manage the Northwest Airlines account. I was invited into the client’s inner circle and attended their senior management meetings as the advertising agency representative.
I quickly realized that the airline had a serious meeting problem. Most of my clients were in non-stop meetings from 8AM to 6PM. I couldn’t figure out when they had time to think let alone get their jobs done. This fact wasn’t lost on the airline’s COO who hired a management consultant to help create an efficient and effective meeting culture. It was instructive to watch this course correction help Northwest make faster decisions and become the fastest growing airline in the late 1980’s.
Effective meetings deliver three key benefits:
- Effective meetings focus on and achieve meeting objectives.
- Well-managed meetings take up a minimum amount of time.
- Participants leave the meeting feeling that a sensible process has been followed and that their time has been used effectively.
I’ve incorporated the meeting consultant’s advice into my business culture since the 90’s. I suggest that you incorporate the following meeting management rules at your company and consider posting them in your conferences rooms. These rules are especially important in today’s fast-paced and info-burdened business environment.
8 Essential Meeting Rules:
- Every meeting must have a leader to create and manage an agenda.
- Invite only the people that need to be in the meeting. This isn’t a numbers game.
- Time management is critical. Make sure that anyone needed in the meeting knows of the start and stop time. There shouldn’t be any open-ended meetings. This is critical.
- Everyone must understand that they are required to show up on time and if they are late they will be costing the agency time and money. Keeping colleagues waiting is rude and costly. Do the math on the time staff sits around waiting for a colleague to eventually show up.
- State the meeting objectives at the start of the meeting.
- Once an objective is met move on to the next one. Stay on topic.
- Watch the clock and end the meeting when you have covered the objectives. Consider using a meeting timer. Google does.
- State any follow-up items, timing and individual responsibilities. Send out a meeting summary.
Believe me, well-run meetings are refreshing.
These rules, in a modified fashion (don’t be too controlling), should be considered in how you mange sales presentations. Prospective clients and customers will respect you when you show respect for their time and show that your company is well managed.