How many times have you had a meeting that just went on and on and on? Torture! Or sat in a meeting with a client and flipped through papers, trying to remember if you covered everything? Yikes! Here are 5 things that I do to make all of my client meetings more efficient and effective!
1. State the Goal
You shouldn’t have a meeting without a purpose, right?! I mean, what’s the point?? You want to be sure that everyone knows WHY you’re having the meeting so they understand their role and what the meeting will include. If you tell your client you want to meet about a solution you found to a discontinued fabric, then they know it will be an easy and quick event. Knowing what to expect is half the battle.
2. Determine the Time
I like to tell my client, “This meeting will only take 30 minutes.” It helps them plan their day AND it’s also a bit of a warning that I also don’t have time for a one hour gab session. Setting the rules up front is a key to keeping things on time.
3. Location, Location, Location
Think VERY carefully about where you meet. For example, I like to have initial meetings in my office. It sets a professional tone, and they’re away from the distractions of their home. But sometimes you have to go to their house or the job site. If they’re still living in the home you’re working on, it’s okay to ask a time to meet when the kids will be out or distracted. And if the job site is under construction, be sure you mention that to them in case they’re tempted to bring a dog or child!
4. Use an Agenda
I LOVE an agenda! Nothing is more effective at keeping a meeting running smoothly than an agenda. It reminds you of everything you wanted to cover and it sets expectations again.
5. Stay on Track
Don’t get distracted and go off on a tangent! I know it happens, but you need to be disciplined to keep things moving. And if your client moves onto other unrelated topics, gently bring them back to what you need to discuss. This is really where an agenda comes in handy!
Another way to keep everything running smoothly is to have FEWER meetings! Yes, you read that right. If you are communicating often with your client – through emails and phone calls – you shouldn’t have to have too many in-person meetings.
Download my FREE Client Touchpoint Worksheet to know when and how to communicate with your client so you don’t have to meet too often!!!