Everyone in business knows how frustrating it can be when you are called to a meeting that isn’t properly organized or has no apparent reason.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to make your business meetings more effective,
Set meeting objectives
Once the meeting begins, it is your obligation to be sure you and the participants understand the objectives.
Outline program content
Let the attendees know what the meeting is about, focusing on the desired results. You might say, “At the end of today’s meeting, you will be able to handle the most common objections we receive on the Widget line.
Post the objectives on the wall
List the three or four objectives to be covered in the meeting on the wall in full view.
The participants’ expectations into the content
If the subject for the meeting is handling objections, go around the room and ask each person what they would like to see covered during the meeting.
Post the expectations on the wall near the objectives
You want the participants to be able to see what you’ve planned to cover and what they want to have covered. It also keeps you on track during the meeting so you remember to tie those two aspects together.
Make sure the training is measurable
Keep testing participants throughout the meeting via role plays, discussions and written exercises. You want to be sure they understand what is being taught, and there’s no way for you to know that unless you get the attendees involved.
If meetings are to be taken seriously, they must have an agenda everyone follows.
Start the meeting on time
Prepare the room and set up equipment before the participants arrive so you can spend the first few minutes meeting and greet.
Give yourself leeway at the end
If you think you’ll be through by 5 p.m., tell attendees the meeting will end at 5:20 p.m. If you finish at 5 p.m., everyone feels rewarded that they covered everything and can leave early — and there’s no irritation if it goes a little past 5 p.m.
Keep your lecturing to no more than 15 minutes at a time
If you stand up and talk in front of the group for more than 15 minutes, attention wanders. So every 15 minutes or so, start an interactive exercise, have attendees make individual or group presentations, give out short quizzes, etc. Constantly have attendees apply the information they’ve just learned. Teaching is not telling.This means learning is not listening.
Don’t forget to take breaks.
Sales meetings are not only for learning. They’re also an opportunity for team bonding. It’s good to give people 15 minutes or so of unstructured time where they can catch up with their friends or peers, have a cup of coffee and just relax. But be sure to tell participants the exact time you’ll be resuming the meeting.
Keep the meeting under your control.
It’s easy to get off on tangents. People often ask questions that derail your train of thought. If someone does ask a question that’s off the topic, you might say, “That’s an excellent question, and we’re going to get to that in the next module. Why don’t you make a note of that thought And remind me if I don’t cover it after the break.” Keep checking your objectives and expectations charts to note where you are and how much is left to be covered. If a discussion is going on too long, you might say, “We can take one more question on this and then we’re going to have to move on.”
Use the four T’s of presentations.
They include- 1. Tell them what you are going to tell them. 2. Tell them. 3. Test them. 4. Tell them what you told them. This applies to the meeting as a whole, as well as each section. Go over the four T’s before the program starts, before the break, when you start again after the break and before the meeting ends. This technique gives the meeting structure and reinforces the important points that were covered and the important points to be covered.