Taking time to prepare for client calls & meetings will help you and your teams make sure you’re getting the most out of the dedicated time together. This tip includes 5 key questions to ask yourself (and/or your team) in order to prepare for a successful meeting or call:
Every meeting, call, the conversation should have a purpose (and clear objective). This should also be captured in the invite.
Every planned meeting should have an agenda, even if it’s simply something like this. Having an agenda helps ensure everyone in attendance is prepared and focused:
- Review priority items
- Business Updates
- Next Steps
“What is our (agency/consultant) goal for this call/meeting?”
Is there something we want/need to get out of the conversation? If so, make sure you don’t leave without getting that information (or understanding the next steps to get to the end result). Although we’re in a service business (and often catering to client requests/objectives), we are also a business ourselves, so make sure you’re taking the time to get the info you need to do your and your team’s best work.
If you think there may not be enough time to cover everything, you have a few options:
- Scale back the agenda if you can, possibly separate the conversation into two meetings if more time is needed
- Arrange the agenda by priority – start with the most important things first
- Set expectations at the beginning of the call with something like “We have a lot to cover today, so I’ll/we’ll be keeping time to ensure we stay on track and make the best use of the time we have.)
Every call should have a ‘call lead’ to help avoid the awkward silence between agenda points / or questions and keep the conversation moving along based on the agenda. Try to assign a call lead for every client call if possible.
Similarly: identify clear roles for client calls. Who is speaking to what slides and agenda points? Who is fielding questions should they arise? Much of the latter may happen organically, however it will save time (and awkwardness) having clear ‘leaders’ for different elements of a conversation.
It’s a great exercise to actually write these questions out and jot down the answers to create an internal guide before the meeting. You can also review this information as a team before the meeting to make sure everyone is aligned. The additional preparation should help everyone feel confident about going into the meeting.