Some Meetings are Better than Others – Why?

The music products industry will gather next week in Anaheim, CA for the NAMM Show.  Over 80,000 members will attend this “Trade Only” convention.  Lots of meetings will take place.  Many of them casual; quite a few structured.  How many will be effective? How many will be a waste of time – or a missed opportunity? 

What can you do ahead of time to be better prepared?  What lessons can you learn at trade shows that will help you to hold more effective meetings when you return to your store or your office?

In general, the meetings you will have at a trade show or at an “off-site” retreat or with a client are much more effective than your normal staff or team meetings.  And the reasons for that are rather straight-forward:

1) You put more time and effort into preparing for the meeting – Who will attend?  What materials do we need to have on hand?  Who is preparing the agenda – and what is the purpose of this meeting?

2) You are more focused during the actual meeting – Your energy level is much higher.  You are actively listening to what your client is saying (and thinking.)  Since you only have the key people attending this meeting, you make sure that everyone is involved.

3) Your meeting ends on-time and everyone involved understands what the next step will be – and who is responsible for preparing for it.

4) You promptly follow-up will everyone who attended the meeting – AND those “stake holders” who have an interest in the results of your meeting.

I hope that this four-step process can serve as a blueprint for holding successful meetings – not just at the NAMM Show or any other “important meeting.”  Rather, it should guide you and your staff to put the same effort into planning, facilitating and following-up on EVERY meeting that your company holds throughout the year.

Here's a great resource tool that I recommend – The Meeting Wizard.  Their website is terrific!  Lots of good practical advice.  Many of the services are free – or at a reasonable price.  Easy to navigate.  Excellent selection of training materials – books, audio and video – available for purchase.  Check it out!

Actually, I got the idea for today's post from this website.  Most of us come back from an “off-site” event inspired and filled with purpose.  Then we quickly fall back into the drudgery of “office work.”  Well, today “office work” means meetings – that is how we work – as part of a team.  And the hours that we spend / waste in meetings continues to increase each year / week / day!

All effective meetings are planned!  They have a very clear focus and purpose.  “On-site” as well as “off-site!”

Be selective when inviting people to attend each meeting – only invite the people who truly need to be there.  Use e-mail to inform the other members of your team about what was discussed or decided.

Never end a meeting without everyone knowing what the next step will be – and who needs to do it – and when it needs to be done by.

If  you are planning to attend the NAMM Show next week, please drop by to see me at the IDEA CENTER – Booth #5501 in Hall B.  I'd like to talk with you and listen to  some of your ideas

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