How to Conduct Effective Client Meetings
What do you think about online meetings? Do they make you nervous or anxious? Or do you feel like you may not be able to cover everything in time?
If you have organized a few meetings so far, you may already know that they are not as easy to conduct as they seem and things may go wrong.
However, when it comes to online meetings, if you follow a set of rules, it’s highly unlikely that anything would go wrong.
In this article, we are going to discuss four tips that will help you organize and conduct effective client meetings. You’ll learn how to use Zoom meetings (or any other type of online meeting) the correct way.
1. Prepare for the Meeting Beforehand
Effective client meetings should NOT start at the agreed-upon time, they should start a few minutes before. For example, if the meeting is scheduled for 9 AM, you should start preparing for it from around 8:00 AM itself. So, how to prepare yourself for an effective client meeting?
- Read your notes or presentation again
- Research your client’s company and look at their social media profiles to understand their personalities
- Talk to someone for 5 minutes to get into a social state of mind
- Have a light meal or a cup of coffee so that you have the energy to conduct the meeting efficiently
- If there are people around you who are not participating in the meeting, tell them to be mindful of their voice for a while
- In case you’re feeling nervous, take deep breaths, meditate, or listen to upbeat music at low volume
Remember, an effective meeting starts before the actual start time. Preparation and foresight are key here. It’s not a good idea to just turn on the webcam and start an online client meeting unprepared.
2. Have an Effective Meeting Agenda
To ensure a successful meeting, create and send a detailed agenda and share it with the attendees well before the meeting date. Creating an effective meeting agenda is an art in it itself. Here are some important things to keep in mind while creating an agenda:
- Write the time, date, location, name of the organizer (hopefully, that’s you), names of the attendees
- Mention what to bring to the meeting, and don’t forget to announce if the attendees should perform an action before the meeting date, such as watching a corporate video or reading a case study
- Agenda details: Try to add as many details as you can to the agenda topics. So, instead of writing something along the lines of “New product marketing strategy discussion”, you should write this: “New marketing strategy for [product name] to increase brand awareness among millennials in London.”
- Time: Add a time limit for every topic in the agenda to make sure each topic gets the right amount of attention.
Effective meeting agenda lets both you and the attendees prepare themselves for the meeting well before time, and because of this, the meeting will be fruitful for everyone.
3. Manage Time Efficiently
Effective client meetings require contribution from all team members. As an organizer, it’s your responsibility to make sure that everyone collaborates and makes the most out of the meeting. That is why setting and adhering to time limits is so crucial. As mentioned above, adding a time limit in the agenda is highly recommended. But even if you make the time limits for each topic crystal clear within the agenda document itself, things could still spin out of control. Here’s how you manage it:
4. Follow up With the Attendees After the Meeting
Just like a 9:00 AM meeting starts at 8:00 AM (because of preparations), a meeting that ends at 11 AM doesn’t completely end at that time—not until you follow up with the participants.
Follow-ups are key to effective client meetings. You may know how to use Zoom meetings like a pro, but you have also got to know what to do after you click the ‘End Meeting for All’ button.
A follow-up email should have five main components:
- Gratitude: Thank everyone who attended the meeting for their contribution and time.
- Reference: Do not forget to mention which meeting you’re talking about in the email because, chances are, the attendees may attend multiple online meetings that week.
- Notes: This is the main component of the follow-up email. Briefly discuss the key takeaways from the meeting with all the attendees.
- Actions: Make sure you mention any further action that is required from attendees. For example: “Kate needs to interview new candidates for the social media manager position.”
- Bonus: If it’s not too much, ask all the attendees to smile and wave their hand. Let them know that you’re taking a screenshot which you’ll share with them later in the follow-up email. Well, this also depends on the type of client you’re working with and the permissions you have. So, don’t stress too much on this one and only take a screenshot if everyone’s happy with it.
In conclusion, effective client meetings require proper planning, a clear and concise agenda, time management, and a follow-up email. If you follow these tips, you will most likely be able to get the most out of your next client meeting.