I like being alone sometimes. I’m not a hermit or a monk. But I could be Elton John’s Rocket Man or the guy that does a solo crossing of the ocean. Of course I want to come to back to civilization, but I don’t mind leaving for a good stretch.
And although I’m as sociable as the next person and love selling and presenting, I would prefer to spend most of my work time alone — writing, developing strategic plans, directing video, etc.
But if I could, I would avoid most meetings. In fact, I would rather do pretty much anything instead of attending meetings.
Why? First of all, there’s the wardrobe. If it doesn’t have an Under Armour or Nike logo on it, I’m probably not real comfortable in it. And I would love to go back in time and strangle the guy who invented the necktie with his own invention.
Second, there’s the listening. Don’t you hate listening? I was constantly getting in trouble in school for speaking out of turn. Who wants to hear others speak when the sound of your own voice is so sweet, right?
Lastly, there’s dreaded “dead butt” syndrome that develops from sitting so long in meetings.
But like it or not, most of us have to attend meetings in order to conduct business. So I’ve learned to look at meetings differently.
Now I consider every meeting, whether it’s with my staff, clients, prospects or suppliers, as an opportunity for some sort of gain or progress.
Even routine meetings present a chance to accomplish something other than learning to sleep with your eyes open.
I try to identify a return on my investment of time from every meeting. My preferred return is money. I try to make money in every meeting.
That doesn’t mean I collect a cover charge at the door. But when I’m in a meeting and can identify a new project or offering that a client or prospect needs, the blood rises from around my ankles and gets my heart pumping again.
Solving problems is a good way to make money in meetings. Solving your problems and solving customers’ problems — both make money. You may charge customers for the solution, it could be a value-added service, or maybe the solution is a new project or product they buy from you.
What value do you place on meetings that build relationships with customers? Your return on investment may be a customer who is happy.
A happy customer stays with you longer, saving you the cost of chasing new business. And a happy customer also provides referrals if asked. That’s a great return on the time you invest in meetings with them.
Can you make more money or get a better return on meetings you’re expected to attend on a regular basis? Yes.
Set goals and expectations for every meeting. Even if the return is simply a check mark for finishing the meeting, you’ve accomplished something.
Listen. Listen. Listen. If there is little talking going on at the meeting, then make comments that inspire others to talk. Here’s a fact: Listening makes you more money than talking.
Every customer or stakeholder meeting provides an opportunity to position yourself and your organization as a leader in your industry. That is always worthwhile.
Use these tips for meetings, and even if you “think it’s gonna be a long long time,” you’ll know you’re getting a return on your investment.