I’m strategic and purposeful on where and how I spend my time. For example, Mondays and Tuesdays are my longest and most productive days of the week. During these days, I work to complete my hardest tasks to get ahead of the week. Fridays, I prefer not to do anything that I’m required to do but more of the things I want to do.
My Wednesdays are for business meetings, nurturing new relationships, and connecting with new potential business associates. This can be challenging at times because I’ve noticed that some people do not set an end time for business meetings. This surprised me. As an entrepreneur, if you aren’t measuring your time then you could possibly be costing yourself money.
During any interaction with someone, aim to make your time together productive and intentional.
When having a business meeting you want to ensure no words or actions or wasted. Whether you’re facilitating the meeting or not, here are some ways to ensure your meeting is a success.
1) Set a Time Frame
- When you place a meeting on your calendar be sure to enter a start and end date. Then send a calendar invite to all participants of the meeting. This sets the expectation of how long this meeting will last. It also extends accountability for completing the meeting within a specific time frame. This will not only let people know that you respect your time but theirs as well.
2) Know Why You are There Ahead of Time
- Have you ever went to a meeting only to get there and not have a clue of why you were meeting? If you answered yes, then now is the time to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Know the purpose of a meeting before you commit to attending. Ask yourself, “Why are you meeting with this person?”, “Why are we having this board meeting?”, or “What will this meeting be about?”. If this meeting involves a team, sending or asking for an agenda ahead of time will answer these questions. If your meeting is between you and one other person, explain to them why you would like to meet. If they invited you to meet, ask them what is it they would like to discuss during your meeting. Don’t over think this part. It could be as simple as they are a potential client or possible business associate.
3) Be Clear on What You Expect to Gain & Give
- Now this is a big one. Be clear with yourself on what it is you expect to gain from this meeting and what you are willing to share. Having a clear understanding of why you are giving time to this interaction will help gauge its value. Is this meeting worth your time? If so, why? What do you plan to walk away with? How can you, and in what way are you willing to help the participant(s) move forward in their business? As small business owners and entrepreneurs, we have to be willing to collaborate and support each other to build a strong foundation. If this can’t be done or both parties aren’t willing, then maybe your wasting your time.
4) Address Current Concerns
- If there are present challenges or concerns then make sure you addressed them during your meeting. If you are meeting with a team then this should be apart of your agenda and shouldn’t go unnoticed. If you are meeting with a client, then be sure you encourage them to share any concerns, if any, they may have. When you’re meeting with a business associate, or potential business associate, share one challenge you are dealing with as a small business owner and ask the same of them.
5) Resolved Current Concerns
- Don’t leave a meeting without resolving any issues. Be decisive in your actions. Come up with a solution during the meeting on how you will address the challenge and eliminate the concern. This is not the time to talk about the problem and then talk more about when you will address the problem, and then talk some more on when you will schedule another meeting to resolve the problem. Get it done now. Make the decision to make a decision.
6) Secure Deliverables
- Be sure everyone comes to the meeting with what they were expected to. If deliverables were assigned ahead of time, these should be present at the meeting. If you were supposed to research a topic or review an article then address them. Afterwards, follow up, discuss, and then move on to the next project. When your meeting with a client come prepared to discuss anything about their account.
7) Assign Action Items
- Towards the end of the meeting assign any action items to relevant participants to ensure a successful meeting the next time. There should always be action items because you should always be progressing towards something. When you meet with a client send an email recap of the meeting. Make mention of anything you need from them and what they can expect from you. Do the same for business associates.
Hitting all these points have helped make my meetings successful and valuable. What are some ways you ensure a business meeting is successful?