How many waste of time meetings do you attend?

Have you ever been a to a meeting where you ended up being at cross-purposes because you hadn’t established a clear context or purpose beforehand? This can be especially true for a sales meeting, where we can be excited that they have agreed to the meeting so don’t take the time to establish a clear context to start with.

This happened to me a good few times when I first started coaching and I was trying to win new clients. I would take any meeting and ended up with too much caffeine in my system from too many cups of coffee. A wise mentor of mine then cautioned me about having ‘too many cups of coffee’ meetings that were interesting but never turned into anything.

I needed to be braver and establish a clearer context before agreeing to the meeting, and in doing this, would eliminate a 1/3 of the meetings.

I was just advising one of my clients who has a partnership meeting looming and wanted some advice and an example agenda. This is what I said to her

I don’t have a template agenda but I would send / agree the context in advance (you can do this via email) i.e. Purpose of meeting and desired outcomes. For example, the purpose of meeting is to learn more about each other’s businesses and clients, and establish if there is some viability of partnering together. Then at the start of the meeting, reaffirm this context and ask him specifically what he would like to talk about to ensure it’s a useful meeting for him.  Then you add what you want to cover. This gives you the best chance of having a productive meeting and ensuring you are both on the same page.

This is an approach we should all use (and one I need to remember too!) to ensure both parties are ‘on the same page’ when we arrive at the meeting, giving us the best chance of a focused meeting, clear outcomes and a way to move things forward.

This is a great example of one of my favourite expressions, slow down to speed up.  If we take the time to get clear to start with, we remove any assumptions and ensure we have positive and productive conversations.

I’d love to hear if you have any other tips for ensuring you have a great meeting? 

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