I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We have all sat through one-on-one meetings that are not only are a waste of time but have sucked the energy right out of you.
People schedule 1-1’s for many reasons; building relationships, sharing what your company can do for a potential client or touching base with employees or associates. To be sure that your next 1-1 is productive try the following tips.
- Be sure there’s a good reason to meet. If you are contemplating a 1-1 for building relationships then a meeting is a no brainer. If you are trying to decide if the other person is truly interested in your services or they just want to sell theirs, you may want to schedule a short telephone conversation first. Then if you have what they need or you want what they have, by all means set up a time to meet. For your employees, it is counterproductive to hold a meeting just because you think it’s been too long since your employees all got together. If your objectives can be addressed with a few emails, hold off on an all-hands meeting until there’s a genuine need for one.
- Choose the right environment. Conducting the 1-1 in the right setting will enhances the quality of the conversation you have. If you work from home or want to meet outside the office a nice local coffee shop or restaurant may work out well. Remember that you came to talk and to listen so make sure the location is not too loud. If you are meeting with an employee the last thing you want is someone else overhearing your conservation or interrupting it.
- Start and end on time — no exceptions. Always be on time for any meeting. If the other party is 10 minutes late-text them and let them know that the meeting will need to be rescheduled. If everyone arrives on time, be transparent and honest as soon as the initial greetings are over. Let the other person know how much time you have set aside for the meeting. Set a subtle timer on your cell to let you know when there are 10 minutes left. This will give you ample time to wrap up the conversation. Remember “Time is Money”.
- Remember that it is a two-way conversation. If you are meeting to build a relationship or land a potential client, ideally you should get ½ of the meeting time to talk and the other party should get the other half of the time. I am sure we have all sat through 1-1’s where we could not get a word in (we should have had that short telephone conversation first). While it’s important to build rapport, make sure the 1-1 doesn’t turn into a chat fest. Normally, the purpose of these conversations is to professionally and productively discuss work or service related topics. It’s not an opportunity to catch up on gossip or hear the details of their home renovation. Use your facilitation skills to keep the conversation focused.
- Make notes and follow up after the meeting. Create minutes or notes about every meeting you have for future reference. Be sure to follow up with the person who freely gave their time to meet with you. Take a moment to e-mail, call or send a personal card. Business manners are important. Providing a follow up in about a week or so also puts you right back into the mind of this person-and that’s where you want to be.
I scheduled a lot of 1-1’s when I first started my business. Luckily, I only had a few where my eyes glazed over while the other party discussed, non-stop, about what they do for the entire meeting. Even if you have to sit through a few of those, remember there are many good business relationships that started with a 1-1. Always keep in mind that time–yours and theirs-and good manners are always crucial.
About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal/Virtual Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207