Sep 6, 2012
“Well it has been a pleasure Mr. Customer, I look forward to talking again soon”
You shake hands, clasp your briefcase, and you proceed to exit the office.
As you approach the elevator you adjust your tie (Blouse, makeup, etc) and step on with a bit of swagger; Thinking to yourself, what a great meeting!
We laughed, we cried, we shared great stories. This is going to be a great long term relationship.
And then Houdini, it hits you…
Alright so maybe the laugh was more of a friendly smile and yeah I know…those tears are more of a metaphor than anything.
Goodness, you think to yourself. I just spent an hour with that customer and I have no idea what just happened.
Surely there was an exchange and some important things were discussed. But there are no takeaways, no action items, no scheduled next meeting.
In the meantime the customer has already forgotten your name and your business card and pamphlets have already found their way into the circular file.
Then you ask yourself, “What the heck just happened?”
What happened was you just lost an hour, wasted a prospects time and essentially had the type of meeting that has given meetings a bad name.
Everyday across businesses of every type meetings are conducted. Every hour on the hour we take a seat at the table.
In offices, boardrooms, restaurants, and coffee shops.
We sit down with a purpose, or at least what we think is a purpose.
We attempt to drive small talk to build rapport, and then perhaps we lead with questions to learn about the persons business.
Sometimes we don’t ask questions at all, we just get in front of the customer and spew everything we know about our product and service hoping that the customer is a slot machine and when we hit on the right feature their eyes will line up like cherry’s.
In some cases we are meeting with people we know. Maybe they are on our team, maybe they are long-time customers. Those meetings can be met with the same challenges. The comfort level can sometimes drive even less valuable exchange.
But in the end, whether with prospects, employees, or long term accounts, the problem is that our purpose isn’t clear in our mind and therefore you can be sure it isn’t clear in theirs.
Curing Useless Meeting Disorder
Okay, so there is no such disorder. I made it up. However, I truly believe that there should be.
In order to move business forward we must communicate and meetings regardless of the medium are important in this process.
To make meetings effective though, a few specific things must happen.
Here are 4 specific things I attempt to bring to every meeting to give them meaning.
Simple enough, or so it seems. But I challenge you to make every meeting productive. Your customers and employees will thank you for it and the results…they will speak for themselves.