Use your meetings to set the stage for transparent communication
Clear expectations make for happier clients
Client meetings all revolve around one thing: expectations.
Your client might have 25 items they want to talk about but you only have time for 3-5 of those topics. Helping them set the expectations will strengthen your relationship in the long run because they’ll be less likely to feel disappointed or frustrated by a lack of communication or transparency.
Sometimes it’s your job to determine what you want to cover in that meeting, as you might be presenting or updating the client. On the other hand, the client might have called the meeting to clarify the strategy or bring your attention to a problem. Either way, it’s your job to establish the expectations for the meeting upfront.
Templates for consultants
Set the expectations before the meeting begins
By simply asking, “What do you want to make sure we cover in this meeting?” you will guide the conversation and protect yourself from them bringing up another urgent question in the last five minutes of the meeting.
Before the meeting, you can create a collaborative agenda with the topics you want to cover and ask the client if there’s anything they want to add. This way, you spend the entire meeting time focused on those topics, rather than figuring out what you all want to talk about. Your priority is to get the important work done first, and if there’s time in the end for other questions or small talk, then go for it.
Your goal is to develop a reputation for running effective client meetings and delivering on what you promise. Once you do that, your clients will begin inviting you to get-togethers and telling their friends about you.
Set your clients up for success
- Focus on what’s most important. Share the purpose and agenda for the meeting so each person is clear on why they are there and what you aim to achieve.
- Get more out of your time together. Send a reminder 24 hours before the meeting to ensure everyone has reviewed the agenda and added their discussion points.
- Fewer status reports and more strategy. Each person has the opportunity to share their status report before the meeting, so the rest of the meeting can focus on what’s working and not working.
- Show your clients you care by respecting their time. Get more done in each meeting so you spend less time in meetings and more time on what matters most.
- Get important feedback from your clients. Have better conversations with your clients and give them space to share how you can improve as a consultant.
- Keep everyone accountable. Assign action items and due dates to help everyone keep their promises on committed work.
Templates for consultants
- Meetings become a status report, rather than discussing how you can better help your clients.
- You have to pull up 5 different dashboards and spreadsheets in order to show KPIs.
- Conversations have a lack of direction and meander all over the place.
- You feel like client meetings are a waste of time and your discussions could be done by email.
- A lot of decisions are made during your meeting, but there’s a lack of follow-through after the meeting.
- Everyone gives a status update before the meeting so you can discuss what you’ll improve moving forward.
- All of your KPIs are displayed within one dashboard, easily displayed within the agenda.
- Conversations are focused on what’s most important right now.
- Meetings are where you get important work done which accelerates your work outside of the meeting.
- Each action item is assigned and given a due date as the conversation unfolds.