Remember the time you had the best meeting with a client? Now try and remember the worst encounter. Most likely, the best meeting you experienced would have moved the relationship in a positive motion, while the worst meeting would have moved you and the entire meeting backwards.
Good meetings are very energising because you know you have helped the client achieve their business goals and perhaps grew in the relationship. If you have had individual coaching to enhance your meeting skills then the meeting will be more inclined to succeed.
A lousy client meeting is going to drain you, and knowing you didn’t gain anything positive and that the client is unhappy is not going to work in your favour. You need to have plenty of positive meetings which can show that everything is running smoothly. Continuous bad meetings are just going to show that some issues need to be addressed.
Did you know you can stay on top of them and create better client meetings with four components?
- You need to have an agenda even if it is an informal one
- Always send out a prompt recap including each person’s actionable and a summary of the decisions made
- Send follow-ups of the actionable to ensure that the people are making progress
- Build leadership capability within your team
Can you break the rules only sometimes?
Yes, you can. Some meetings are just the get to know you types that are more for building a relationship, and this is where you won’t do a recap or a formal agenda.
Are client meetings necessary?
Yes, they are essential, but for a more rarer reason than you might think. A client meeting is where you will be cementing the value that the agency delivers. These can be run weekly or monthly, and these ensure the client does not think you are treating them as unimportant. It may just be a regular check-in from the employer, but for the employee, it can be one of the most important meetings.
Have an agenda
Know exactly what needs to be discussed and make sure everyone knows of the schedule before the meeting. This will ensure people have time to prepare for the meeting. If people are unprepared, they end up wasting everyone’s time. If you organised the meeting, then you need to help everyone prepare. Write down what you think would be a success of the meeting and ensure that at the end of the meeting, everything has been addressed that you wanted it to be. The key is organisation, so always make sure you are organised with your team and your agenda will flow easily.
Sending the post-meeting recap
A good recap will include a summary of the actionable and decisions and include an owner and the deadline for each action. A recap allows for no questions later idea about what the client decided and who needed to do what things after the meeting. The best way to send the agenda is to maintain a google document for every client meeting with the actionable down the bottom, and then you can email the recap. You can also record decisions in the agendas detailed meeting notes. If you are running a PM system, then you can log the recap there also. These should be sent out after each call usually within one day. It will become less relevant the longer you wait.
Make times in your calendar after each client meeting to send the recap. You will have a 30 min buffer in which you will cover other items too. If you have had more meetings that day, then schedule time at the end of the day for the follow-up.