5 Tips For Having Better Client And Team Meetings
Powerful client and team meetings make all the difference. How are your meetings?
You don’t have to be in the business world for long to realize that having good meetings with team members and clients is absolutely essential to your long-term success.
You want to keep your clients happy with your work and up to date on your campaigns. More importantly, you want to generate key business insights and detect potential profitability threats. Unfortunately, many meetings don’t achieve these ends, and in some cases, they might even be having opposite effects.
Around 25 million meetings take place every day in the U.S. with an average of 15 percent of a given organization’s time dedicated to meetings.
With that amount of energy dedicated to these conversations, you should constantly be evaluating and improving your ROI on these time investments. Here are five tips on how to design a call or meeting that leaves your client feeling informed, empowered, and excited to continue working with you.
1. Send Out Pre-Meeting Agendas
Both helpful and unhelpful meetings start before you even set foot in your conference room. Creating and sending out a meeting agenda beforehand is an easy and effective way to have a better and more helpful meeting for everyone involved.
If you go into a meeting with a client with no real direction as to what you’re going to talk about and without a clear objective of what the meeting is for, everyone is going to walk out feeling they just wasted an hour of their time.
Agendas should cover the meeting’s objective and goals, all attendees, any materials they should bring, and a start and stop time. You should also send this out to your team and the clients ahead of time so everyone can prepare and actually participate during the meeting instead of simply passively listening.
2. Effectively Guide The Discussion
If you yourself aren’t excited about the meeting, or unsure of what to talk about, how do you expect others to add value to the meeting? Every good and helpful meeting you’ve been in had a solid leader directing the conversation.
Leading an effective meeting takes practice, but it’s an important skill to learn. Learn how to create a comfortable space where people express their thoughts and enjoy getting involved.
Be sure to have a plan of action before stepping into the meeting, but you should also be flexible and give your team time to share their own ideas, thoughts, and concerns.
Don’t forget about the key little details like having good breath, wearing a comfortable outfit, and silencing your phone and notifications that might distract you.
3. End Each Meeting With Clear and Actionable Goals
If you walk out of a client or internal meeting and change nothing about your goals or your plans, what was the point of the meeting? There’s no point in having a meeting if you don’t leave with a clear view of what steps you need to take next and what goals to meet before the next meeting.
If you’re running the meeting, always end it with a plan of action, goals for your team members, and a timeline of when to have those done or when you’ll follow up.
If you can’t think of any actionable steps that need to happen after the meeting, maybe consider simply sending out an email with the information you want to relay to your team.
4. Cultivate an Active Listening Environment
As much as you’d like it to be sometimes, conference rooms aren’t bubbles—there are always little distractions that can keep your attendees from participating or listening in meetings.
Since the conference room environment can directly affect how well your meeting goes, you want to make sure it’s comfortable and as free from distractions as possible so participants will be in a good state of mind throughout the meeting.
Make sure things like the room temperature, the chairs, and any background noise are all the way you want them before you begin.
And if you have a longer meeting, you’ll want to schedule a short break so attendees go to the bathroom, stretch their legs, or grab a quick snack so they’ll be ready and energized for the second half.
Don’t forget that meetings can be fun too! Small games or object lessons can keep people engaged, listening, and interested in what you have to say.
5. Make Sure You’re Holding Inclusive Meetings
It can be hard for clients and team members to feel like they had a good meeting if all they did was listen to one person talk the entire time. Having a meeting leader is important, but it’s also important to know when to hand over the reins and let someone else contribute to the discussion.
You need to create an inclusive environment where everyone in the meeting feels comfortable adding to the conversation and sharing their thoughts and ideas.
If you have a large meeting, breakout groups can help everyone have a chance to talk and develop ideas easier. And try to keep laptops out of the meeting if possible to keep everyone’s attention and contribute to the discussion.
Remember, everyone in your meeting deserves to have their ideas be heard. Creating an inclusive meeting environment will make it much easier for people to leave it feeling like it was a productive part of their day.