Is there anything worse than a bad meeting? Anything? Fine, yes, world hunger, soul-crushing poverty, and violence in the Middle East. But in the midst of a truly bad meeting, it’s easy to convince yourself that all of those problems will be distant memories before the meeting EVER ENDS.
You’d think the jury was still out on what makes a meeting work or not work. In fact, there are a few very simple guidelines that can mean the difference between an agonizing, clockwatching drone fest, and a powerful, effective meeting that creates results.
First, let’s take a look at the three main features of a bad meeting:
- It’s too long. Is this a surprise to anyone? The Bad Meeting Hall of Fame includes very few meetings that were too short. Make every minute count.
- Non-pertinent items are discussed. You have an agenda for a reason. Make it tight, then stick to it.
- The forum for questions and concerns is non-productive. Nothing kills a meeting like a vast, open-ended, unstructured period in which everyone is invited to voice whatever question or concern happens to cross his or her mind.
So what elements does a GREAT sales meeting include?
- A positive focus. Every meeting should be centered on positive plans and what can be done—not what can’t be done.
- A forecast update. How have predictions changed since the last meeting? A constant update of expectations for the future is an essential part of a well-oriented sales team.
- The presentation of new accounts and how they were won. This keeps success in view, provides an incentive to perform—and feels good!
- An update on major prospects. Regular updates on big fish in the pipeline will keep a strong forward momentum.
- Autopsy of lost business. Though you don’t want to focus on the negative, it’s important never to stop learning from losses and errors.
- Addressing challenges and sharing ways to overcome these challenges. Keep it structured, keep it focused, and keep it on the agenda.
- Commitment to a 21-day habit change. This is where each individual commits to the kinds of changes that will help address challenges and bring successes that benefit the entire team.
Avoid the three pitfalls and include those seven elements, and I guarantee you will never again find yourself envying the huddled masses during your sales meetings.