This time management strategy will help you to make better decisions about meetings. People just love to hold meetings, don’t they? You can schedule meetings, plan on who to include in the meeting, prepare an agenda for the meeting, decide on when and where to hold the meeting, etc. All in all a whole lot of time can be invested in meetings either as a result of your choices, or the choices of others. You can greatly change the decision making process and the value you obtain from meetings if you simply focus on the purpose of the meeting before you have the meeting. Let’s consider some of the types of meetings you have, and how you can increase the value you get from the meeting, and make a better use of your time.

Sales appointments are just one-on-one meetings you hold with someone you’re hoping will become a customer. Sales appointments potentially hold great value for you if, and only if, you are having the sales appointment for the right purpose. When you ask someone to meet you for a sales appointment what is the mutually understood purpose of the appointment? That may read like a really stupid question, but many times your understanding of the purpose and your prospects understanding of the purpose don’t match. When that’s the case you’ve wasted both of your time. Don’t set a sales appointment with a prospect unless you have qualified the prospect, and it’s mutually understood that the purpose of the appointment is to determine if there is a reason to do business together. So, at the end of the appointment the outcome will be a decision to advance or close the sale, or to disqualify the prospect - purpose and outcome understood and achievable.

Staff meetings, do you hold them and if you do why? Staff meetings can be important if there is a clear purpose for the meeting and a clear outcome that can be expected from the meeting. All too often staff meetings are held and agenda’s are followed, but there isn’t an outcome. You can’t complete everything in every meeting, but you should definitely know why the staff meeting needs to be held, and what everyone can expect as a result of holding this meeting.

Sales meetings are usually meant to invigorate the sales force in an effort to increase sales. That sounds like a purpose, but in reality most sales meetings are either a rah-rah session, or a beat up on the poor producers session. Do you really need to have a meeting to do that? To make the best use of everyone’s time each sales meetings needs to have a clear purpose and expected outcome from the meeting itself. So, the purpose might be education and the outcome might be the sales force identifies ways to overcome buyer resistance. The purpose could also be celebration, and the outcome is each sales person knows the goal for the entire team and their progress. Then each sales person establishes an individual plan for their personal sales goals for the week.

Meetings that have a clear purpose with a defined expected outcome can be an effective time management strategy. Meetings that don’t fulfill that requirement aren’t a good use of your time. But sometimes you’re forced to attend meetings that may lack both a purpose and expected outcome. When that happens you still have to obtain the most value that you can obtain. You do that by establishing your own purpose and expected outcome. Before you go to the meeting identify how you could get value from the meeting (that’s your purpose), and then what form that value would take (that’s your outcome). Even if only 5 minutes of a 60 minute meeting is spent on your purpose and outcome, you won’t walk away completely empty handed.

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