All of us attend meetings, some more than others, but we can all agree on one thing, we all hate worthless meetings. There is some commonality among all the worthless meetings and what causes them. So here are my 5 Common N’s for a Worthless Meeting. As you will see, if you fail to accomplish number one, the likelihood of a successful meeting dramatically diminishes. It’s like a house of cards; once it starts to fall, it’s all over.
1. No Agenda and Timeline Set and Shared Before the Meeting
It’s important to create an agenda with a timeline for each meeting. I always send out an initial calendar invite with not only the call-in information and date and time, but also the goal and objectives. This allows the meeting invitees to see the goal and objectives very early on and allows for them to provide any feedback. I then create an agenda and send it out with the date and time, meeting attendees, goal, objectives and any notes I want to share before the meeting. I do all this right in my CRM so I can update scheduled activities as I create the meeting.
2. No Clear Goal and Objectives
Agreed upon goals and objectives ensure everyone is on the same page and is committed to a successful meeting. If meeting attendees are not committed to achieve the meeting goal and objectives, then why have the meeting in the first place. It also ensures you have invited the correct team members to the meeting. I always reach out to my champion to see if the correct team members are included in the meeting. If they’re not included, I’ll add them to the meeting and send them an invite and agenda. I’ve been in way too many meetings and spent too much time and money on meetings which never accomplish the goal and objectives because the right team members were nowhere to be found. Again, I do this all in my CRM in the same interface I use to create and schedule the meeting.
3. Not the Right People in the Meeting
Your meeting will get de-railed in minutes and become worthless quick if the right people are missing. There has to be someone in the meeting that can make critical business decisions. In the event the person you invited that has the authority to make decisions cannot attend, it’s critical their representative has the authority to make the decisions. I would rather cancel a meeting than not have the right people attending.
4. No One Taking Concise Notes
A familiar sight in meetings is seeing everyone heads down taking copious notes, but it seems that without fail you never see those notes and they never make it into your CRM. You spent a great deal of time and money to implement your CRM so you could track your deals, but the information you need to track the deals remain on laptops and notepads. When notes do make it into your CRM, it’s likely you’ll see a condensation of the two-hour meeting something like:
Great meeting, demo went well and we scheduled a follow-on to discuss the open issues.
These types of notes aggravate me the most. There is absolutely no useful information in these notes. A ‘Great Meeting’ to me means we closed the deal. Now that’s a great meeting.
Even when some good notes are taken, are they quickly disseminated to the meeting attendee’s? Again, I use my CRM to take the notes and quickly send out the meeting report. In addition, I also update activity history automatically. As a best practice I create two meeting reports. One is for everyone in the meeting while the other has internal information which is only sent to team members and management.
5. No Documented Follow-up
Contrary to a recent commercial I saw, which depicted the leader of a meeting saying at the conclusion of the meeting that there are no next steps or action items, 99% of the meetings I’ve attended over the years have both next steps and actions items. That said, it needs to be easy to create the actions items and next steps and of course they need to be entered in your CRM so they can be tracked. I normally don’t wait till the end of the meeting to assign next steps or action items; I assign them during the course of the meeting. This ensures I don’t miss any and they are assigned to the correct meeting attendees.
So these are my 5 Common N’s for a Worthless Meeting, I hope you enjoyed and I look forward hearing from you.