THE BLOG

How to Make Every Meeting Wildly Productive

02/17/2015 07:41 pm ET | Updated Apr 19, 2015
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While some people advise that you avoid meetings (and I don't entirely disagree), I believe the magic happens when two {or more} people get together in person. Phone calls are fantastic and a lot can be accomplished. Skype can bridge the gap when distance is an issue. But if and when you can meet eye-to-eye with someone, I honestly think there's no better way to create a genuine connection. Under the right pre-determined circumstances, a meeting is the quickest route to an intended and desired outcome.

What my clients ask most often is how to make those in-person meetings effective, because sometimes they can feel like a downright waste of time. I don't disagree, and have found myself in meetings I wish had never been set in the first place!

I've gotten much more effective regarding meetings over the years, and I've identified three ways to help you make every meeting wildly productive and worth having:

1. Know your outcome. Why are you meeting? If you don't have an intended outcome, you will probably leave the meeting feeling like that time could have been better spent. If your to do list is as long as mine {and I'm sure it is}, there are a million things you could be doing other than having this meeting. Unless you make the most of it, starting with knowing your outcome. You might be information gathering, fact-finding, pitching, prospecting, or having a simple get-to-know you. Whatever the reason, have a few pre-crafted questions to ask, which could be anything from "How did you choose to do entertainment law as a profession?" to "How can we make the most of our time together?"

2. Set an end time for the meeting, and share it. If you have a 2 p.m. meeting, it's the last meeting of the day, and you don't have anywhere to be for the next few hours {or ever}, the chances of your intended one hour meeting lasting much longer than just one hour is incredibly high. Parkinson's Law states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Meaning, if you have three "free" hours, you'll probably let your meeting fill the better part of that time. Bad idea. Instead say, "I have a hard stop at 3 p.m., just letting you know." Then, set an alarm on your phone so you won't be continually checking your watch, and you won't glance at your watch and realize a crazy amount of time has passed. Which leads me to my next suggestion ...

3. Be fully present. You may have a deadline, be waiting for the call that never seems to come, worried about your marriage, money, your weight, or the weather, have a sick kid at home, or be concerned about any number of other possible distractions. Take a moment before each meeting to center yourself and become fully present. The world-at-large can exist without you for the duration of the hour. The person in front of you deserves your full, undivided attention. Spend three minutes doing some deep breathing exercises, do a quick meditation, or put on a song to change your mood. Shake off what's got you stressed {and by all means don't share it with the person you're meeting with, unless they are part of your inner circle}, and have a great meeting. Keep in mind how you want the feel at the end of the meeting, and how you want the person you're meeting with to feel.

On the off chance you've forgotten you're at the wheel of each and every meeting, here's your friendly reminder. A great meeting can leave you feeling fabulous, deepen a relationship, or even help you close the deal. By getting more intentional and purposeful about your meetings, you'll accomplish more toward your goals and objections. #TotalWin

Honorée Corder writes about business growth and personal development, including shedding limiting beliefs, dreaming big and living the life you truly want. She is the best-selling author of a dozen books, including Vision to Reality. Learn more at HonoreeCorder.com.