I have a shocking secret to share: meetings can be fun. It is possible to accomplish a goal and emerge energized, all the better for that hour spent in conference. How can you make sure you are inspiring clients and internal participants, not boring them to tears? Follow these 5 tips to conduct inspiring meetings:
- Plan: what do you want to get out of it? Productive meetings are thought out ahead of time: they are vehicles to get feedback, input or ideas; reach consensus or maintain buy-in throughout a project. All of these scenarios involve dialogue—not asking for input is the quickest way to turn your audience off. So, as you think through the underlying purpose and goal for the meeting, leave room for conversation. You will be better equipped to engage attendees this way.
- Have an agenda. An agenda is simply the outline for the meeting that states attendees, goals, expected outcome, action items and owners. Providing a structure keeps the conversation on track and providing attendees an agenda ahead of time gives them time to prepare for what the meeting needs to accomplish.
- Let your attendees speak, but keep it moving. The great thing about assembling people for input is that you are bound to get different perspectives. The challenging aspect is that different personalities can be difficult to manage. Be prepared to step in and acknowledge interesting points-of-view, move to the next topic if you’ve exhausted the current one, or take back the spotlight from an attention seeker and give it to someone you haven’t heard from yet. Your ability to be respectful and inviting but direct throughout the meeting sets a powerful tone that others will appreciate.
- Be conscious of time. Your agenda should state the time frame set for the meeting: stick to it. Respect your attendees schedule and end the meeting as stated. If you are on a roll, set up another meeting to conclude the conversation.
- Leave with action items. Chances are that you covered a lot of ground during the meeting, so don’t let those ideas fall through the cracks: make sure to recap high points, state action items and assign owners to those tasks. Outlining action items at the end of the meeting sets expectations, holds attendees accountable and ensures you have a tangible outcome. It also signals to attendees that their input is valued and being put into action.
These tips are great for internal and client meetings, but they can also be applied to other kinds of meetings we conduct. Trade shows, for example, give us the opportunity to arrange press meetings for our clients to stimulate conversation with the media face-to-face. Press meetings can have great outcomes if we keep them on track using the above tips.
If your company is looking for how to best leverage your presence at an upcoming trade show or industry event, BLASTmedia can help. Contact Lindsey Groepper to learn how.
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