Posts Tagged ‘Meetings’

Be Prepared For Your Next Meeting

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

It doesn’t matter if you are a sales person or a warehouse manager, we all go to meetings.  Some of us go to multiple meetings a day while others may attend a single meeting a week or month.  All meetings may be different, however, they have a few similarities when it comes to being prepared.

The first step is to determine if this is a paper meeting or a paperless meeting.  In the new world of “going green” you will find that paperless meetings become the accepted norm.  However, I have yet to attend a paperless meeting without seeing at least one piece of paper floating around and a few scattered pens and pencils.  To start, let’s assume your meeting is a traditional paper meeting.  You will want to have a nice Padfolio or Organizer that you keep all your documents and note pages in.

If you are the one hosting the meeting, make plenty of copies of all the documents you plan on going over.  The better solution would be to email PDF copies of these documents to all meeting attendees prior to the meeting so they can familiarize themselves with the content.  Electronic documents also give them the option of printing each page out or keeping it electronically.  If you are printing copies, do so ahead of time so the flow of the meeting does not get interrupted by the famous statement: “I don’t think I have a copy of that.”

Having a little more of a high tech meeting?  Be sure to download all attachments to your laptop or iPad prior to leaving your office.  You already have your device powered on and connected to the network, take advantage of that.  Technology has a way of sometimes letting us down when we need it the most.  The meeting location may not have internet access, or you might not have a good wireless signal.  If you can’t access your email server, those important documents that were sent to you are useless right now because you can not open them up.  Get prepared before you step out the door, or out of your cube/office and you will do just fine.

Now for the most important piece…a calendar!  A majority of meetings generally involve scheduling a followup meeting or they relate to an event that occurs on a specific date.  It doesn’t matter if you have a full size paper calendar, pocket calendar, BlackBerry or iPhone…just make sure you bring a calendar with you.  This should go without saying, but also ensure this calendar is up to date with all your professional and personal appointments.  Keeping one master calendar helps prevent scheduling conflicts or missing out on a personal appointment.

Remembering Not To Forget in 2010 – Part 2

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Referring back to my last post about missing an appointment…what should I have done better? What can you do to prevent yourself from being in the same, awful position?

First, no matter what, write it down! Whether you have your calendar with you or not, write it on something. A napkin, a receipt, even your hand – anything! And if you have to, write it more than once! If you can put it in your date book or type it in your cell phone or blackberry, the act of writing it or typing it anywhere, on anything, will create a deeper memory of the experience. Your brain has to process not only the information, but the physical act of logging that thought somewhere outside of your head. The more you commit the information to more areas (locations) of your memory, the better the chance that you won’t forget it.

Second, tell somebody! I should have told my wife and kids what the new time for my appointment was and asked them to remind me to write it down when we get home. Create a chorus of people who can reinforce the new piece of information. Could you just imagine us driving home with my kids repeatedly singing a jingle to the beat of their latest pop or rap idle, “dad’s new appoint is at noon not at 3 – oh yea!”. Avail yourself of more memory capacity by having other people help you remember stuff.

Candidly, I’ve heard other people refer to their memory lapses as “sometimers disease”, or “intellectual interludes”, or even call them “brain farts”. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

Lastly, send yourself a voice message, an email or text message. Use the technologies available to all of us and protect yourself. You may find this a little desperate or over the top, but we’re talking about preserving precious opportunities here! Regardless of our profession, we’re in very competitive businesses, and missing an appointment can be a deal-breaker.

Think about it – what feels more ridiculous? Sending yourself a text message so you won’t forget something important or getting that phone call that says you missed your really important appointment? Texting yourself may be embarrassing, but missing the appointment is exponentially more embarrassing and potentially very expensive! If you can’t use either of the two previous suggestions, protect yourself and use all of your memory aid devices and tools to help you be more efficient.

Though we’re all human and will never be perfect, we must do everything possible to keep ourselves at the top of our game, for our business partners and customers we serve, as well as, for the family we protect and provide for.

Remembering Not To Forget in 2010 – Part 1

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

In the middle of a very busy day last week, I got a phone call from a friend regarding a potential client they had referred me to meet with. Sounding very bewildered she said, “I just got a phone call that you missed your appointment with the customer I referred you to today?” (This is the place where you insert every form of “Oh no! I’m so sorry!” “I blew it!” or any of those other responses that may also involve a few choice words. You know what they are.)

“I don’t believe it, you’re right. Can I get in my car right now and still get in to see them?” I asked her – with desperation in my voice. She said she’d call them and call me right back. As I waited to hear the fate of my appointment, I used the time to berate myself for my HUGE mistake. I was really hard on myself. My berating was deep and powerful.

Now, rewinding to the night before. I was out with my family, and my friend called to say that my appointment time for the next day had been changed to an earlier time. I said fine … I can make it at noon instead of 3 o’clock. Then I hung up and went back to the family. Are you seeing the mistakes yet?

Back to the moment of my dilemma, my friend gets back to me to say that I can go at my original time of 3 o’clock. Whew! Yes! This time I’ll be early – early enough to do my best groveling! After apologizing about 30 more times for my stupidity (this doesn’t make her look good either!), she says not to worry. Regardless, I still felt horrible! Over and over she says it was just a mistake and that things happen. We’ve known each other for a long time and she knows I’m nowhere near irresponsible. She also explained how she defended my blunder to the young assistant she spoke with, by explaining that when they are over 40 they will understand how these things happen. Gotta love having people like that on your side!

Yes, we are all human – but these kinds of mistakes often don’t turn out so well. Too often, you do what I did and your chance with that client is gone. The old adage is still true — you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Missing the appointment does not bode well for making a good impression.

So, what should I have done better? What can you do to prevent yourself from being in the same, awful position?

Find Part 2 Here.