In this video, learn what warrants a meeting and when to send an email.
- I just survived another meeting that should have been done in an email. We have all been in that meeting. You have a million things to do, your boss calls a meeting, and you sit there while they attempt to figure out the agenda while everybody's already in the room. It's frustrating for the individual and it also has a detrimental effect on the organization. So, let's look at a couple of meeting scenarios and I'm going to share the opening with you, and I want you to decide which of these actually merits a meeting and which one should be done in an email.
So, the first scenario, maybe you have some new sales support materials. Now, what commonly happens is the manager gets the new materials, they call the meeting, they say, guys we've got these new materials, I'm going to pass them out or we're all going to look at them on our screen. And then what happens, everybody's got their head down, they're perusing information. That is not a good use of meeting time. Instead, what you're better off doing is sending out all the materials in advance and setting an expectation that everyone will have read them and be familiar with them, and then call a meeting to talk about how you're going to use them and do actual role plays, do practice scenarios.
So, instead of everyone just looking at a screen or looking at some papers, they're interacting with each other. Let's look at another type scenario. You have a new employee on board. Now, what often happens is we send out an email. Join me in welcoming Susan to our staff, she's going to be working over in XYZ department, we're super excited about having her. Well, that's okay, but what's the likelihood everyone's going to walk over and meet her. Instead, if you've got the capacity, a new employee is actually a great reason to have a short meeting.
And there's a couple of reasons why. One, you want your new employee, whether they work for you or not, you want them to feel special, you want them to feel welcome right from the first day. And here's the other thing, particularly with someone in another department, you want your team to know who that person is. And if you set that person up for success, here's Susan, let me tell you about her background, I want you all to get to know her, and your team has a face-to-face interaction with her, then what's going to happen is they're going to form a better connection than they would if you just sent out an email.
Because then she becomes a real life person and you're going to take the time to get to know her, which will make you more productive in the long run. Now, here's another type of meeting that everyone's been to, and I call it the shame meeting. Common experience in sales, nobody submits their expense reports on time. So, what does the boss do? Calls together a meeting, goes around the room, you guys need to start submitting your expense reports on time, accounting's after me so-and-so's after me, you guys have to do this.
The boss rakes everybody over the coals for the exact same problem. We all roll our eyes, sort of look down at our phones, but nothing changes because you know what, now we know we all have the same bad habits, and so there's no accountability. Instead, if you want to create accountability and correct a problem, you need to do it in individual meetings. If you address this in a group, no one's going to take responsibility because they know, hey we've all been doing this and nothing bad has happened yet.
So, what you want to do is get eyeball to eyeball with each one of your reps and just do it in a one or two minute conversation. So, another type meeting, we just lost a big account. Now, this one is really painful and it's really tricky. In this one the email's probably already gone out and everybody knows. Once that happens then you do need to have a meeting, but the first meeting needs to be private with the rep or the reps that caused you to lose the account because this meeting is going to be really, really painful.
You want the people who lost the business to understand why and unpack it. But then here's where you go with this, if there's some lessons to be learned, the next meeting should be a group meeting with the whole team. 'Cause, again, everybody knows we already lost the big account, so instead of you presenting it in a public shaming, the people who lost the business need to share what they've learned, how they're going to either salvage it or do things differently next time. Because you want them to feel confident and empowered. You want the team to see, hey this happened, but we can recover.
So, they need to be in the place where they're leading the whole team to better performance. So, are you starting to notice a pattern on these different types of meetings? If you think something can be done via email, chances are it can be. Emails are best for facts. Meetings are the place where you need to foster positive emotions, where you work through problems, where you generate ideas, where you talk about plans. Because, you see, time is the most valuable resource for you and your sales team.
Time is the one thing you can't make more of. So, before you call a meeting, think twice before you gather a bunch of people in a room and tell them something trivial.
- Understanding your role
- Setting the tone as manager
- Recruiting the right people
- Dealing with inherited bad talent
- Making sales meetings count
- Working with marketing, accounting, and product
- Communicating with senior leaders
- Dealing with failure