A Step By Step Strategy to Crush Your Next Sales Call

Dec 15, 2015 by Tricia Harris in tips & techniques (5 minute read)

Most people think online sales meetings only last for an hour or so. They join at the beginning, and an hour later it’s over.

However, these are usually the people that attend meetings, not the ones who plan them.

Great salespeople know that much more is involved in making meetings successful: they are actually a series of carefully orchestrated events over the course of a sale.

At any given time you are scheduling, planning, meeting, getting agreement on the next meeting, or following up - then repeating over and over until a sale is closed.

First Get the Meeting on Their Schedule

Find a meeting time that works for everyone. If a decision maker (of any kind) cannot attend, try not to have the meeting. If there is an influencer that wants to meet without a decision maker, you’ll need to consider that you will likely have to meet again. This person may not convey information correctly to their colleague, and/or they may not have even told them about your product or service yet.

Your time is just as valuable as your prospect’s. If you must meet without the proper people, make sure to get their email addresses. Be candid with the rest of the team that you will be following up with notes and action items to everyone, including those who could not attend.


Topics: tips & techniques

The Root Cause of Boring, Unproductive Meetings

Oct 6, 2015 by Beatrice Briggs in tips & techniques (2 minute read)

Imagine yourself sitting in yet another mind numbing, time-wasting meeting. And then imagine that instead of thinking about all the other things you have to do when the meeting finally ends, you ask yourself “How did we get into this situation?”

Bad meetings do not just happen. They are not a curse cast upon all who dare to try to work together in groups. The root cause of boring, unproductive meetings is that those responsible for calling a meeting make this mistake: we schedule the session and then fail to plan how the group’s time will be used.

Here are some examples of convening but not planning a meeting:

  • Calling a meeting on a pre-established day and time without questioning the need or purpose for bringing the group together.
  • Inviting the same people to every meeting, regardless of the topics on the agenda.
  • Making a “laundry list” of topics and calling it an agenda.
  • Failing to share even this haphazard list with the invited participants in advance of the meeting.
  • Not considering whether the items on the agenda are relevant to everyone on the invitation list.
  • Not assigning specific time limits for each agenda item.
  • Not defining an expected outcome for each agenda item.

These common practices result in meetings that are boring, pointless, and a colossal waste of time and resources. So why are they so widespread?

A typical response from the overworked meeting convener is, “I do not have time to plan meetings. The best I can do is bring the group together and hope that we will be able to sort things out as we go.”

As someone who convenes meetings myself, I recognize that time pressure is a real constraint. I also suspect that many of these intelligent, well-meaning colleagues fail to plan effective meetings because they do not know how.

Do you have the skills you need to effectively plan a meeting?

No one ever taught them that productive meetings must include effective planning of how the group’s time will be used. Conveners have not been given the tools they need to be able to:

  • Define the purpose of each meeting.
  • Invite only those who can make a useful contribution to the conversation.
  • Prioritize the issues under discussion.
  • Design processes that will give everyone present the satisfaction of having contributed to a useful outcome.
  • Engage others on the team in the planning process.


Topics: tips & techniques

The Power of Silence in Meetings

Oct 1, 2015 by Kevin Eikenberry in tips & techniques (2 minute read)

Meetings are a time for people to come together to exchange ideas, discuss issues, communicate and make decisions.

And while there are many components to effective meetings, one factor that isn’t always necessary is talking.

To be engaged in a meeting doesn’t necessarily mean you are talking. In a world of overwhelming noise, silence is a powerful force that can help us cultivate relationships, encourage reflection and improve our overall communication ability.

As a facilitator though, this wasn’t always easy for me to understand. In meetings, I wanted people to share their ideas. I wanted energy and momentum and synergy. And when I didn’t get that, my first thought was that they were disinterested, disengaged and not listening. 


Topics: tips & techniques

How to Lead Introductions in Business Meetings

Aug 5, 2015 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques (6 minute read)

Many years ago I was asked to represent my company on a national committee. I had to fly from Portland, Oregon to Washington D.C. for the meeting, find my way around the city wearing an actual business suit and heels, then walk into this room and make a good impression.

I was prepared for the content of the meeting - I knew my stuff - but I was far from comfortable. The 30 or so other members of the committee came from Microsoft, the Department of Defense, and a host of big organizations; I worked for a 20-person web software vendor no one had ever heard of. Most of the committee members were much older than I was, and there were very few women.

Soon enough, the gavel pounded and the chair began the meeting. After a brief greeting, he said:

“Go around the room and tell the group a bit about yourself, starting with Don here.”

Tell them about me? What am I supposed to say in this room of dour-looking, experienced people?

I knew that if I wanted any shot of making an impact in the meeting, the other people in the room had to take me seriously, and this introduction was my chance to make that oh-so-important good first impression. But what could I say that would impress this room? I felt like I was at an awful interview, and I began to sweat.

In this case, I needn’t have sweated the introductions (or my blouse) so much. Don stood up and calmly stated his name and the organization he represented, then sat back down. Simple. As it went around the room, each person followed this short pattern, and I began to relax.

My name and where I work? That’s it? Those are questions I can answer easily! Why hadn’t the chair been clearer about what he wanted people to say?


Topics: leadership & facilitation, tips & techniques

5 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement in Meetings …and Why it Matters

Jul 14, 2015 by Paul Axtell in tips & techniques (6 minute read)

Early in my career, my supervisor did me a big favor, although it didn’t feel like it at the time.

Kurt put me on probation for not speaking during meetings. He stated it very simply—Paul, if you don’t speak, you don’t add value.

I had lots of ways to justify my lack of speaking: I was the newest member of the group, I didn’t have much experience, other people seemed to have more to say, I wasn’t sure I had anything of value to add, and, of course, the blockbuster of all: I was shy.

Fortunately, my supervisor wasn’t into explanations or excuses—just results. And suddenly not speaking wasn’t an option for me.

Now, many years later, during training programs on personal effectiveness and coaching with individual managers, I am working to broaden the amount of participation in meetings and to deepen the level of conversation in group settings.

Two key ideas are at the heart of this issue:

First, participants need to embrace this perspective: If you are invited to speak, you are obligated to respond even if it is simply to acknowledge being asked and saying that you don’t have anything to express that hasn’t already been said. Part of being an effective member of any group is to always be self-expressed.

Second, when leading meetings, you need to call on people directly because you simply can not count on people speaking up on their own.


Topics: tips & techniques

Question of the Day: How do you track meeting results?

Apr 30, 2015 by John Keith in tips & techniques (3 minute read)

Recently we received this question from a Lucid Meetings customer.

What have you found to be the best way to track meeting deliverables and analyze efficiency / value added during meetings?

This is a great question; one that every group should ask themselves. So, we thought it would be valuable to share our answers with everyone here.

Wow, that’s a big question, so here’s a big answer!

Before we get into the specific, let me say up-front that it definitely depends on the kind of projects you run and how meeting-savvy your team is, and we’re always available to meet with people who’d like to talk through their situation.

With that said, here are some general pointers below - hopefully it’s a helpful start!


Topics: tips & techniques

6 Meeting Metrics to Collect in Every Meeting You Run

Mar 3, 2015 by Chris Higgins in tips & techniques (4 minute read)

Here's an excerpt from our new ebook, Meetings Are Serious Business: How to Minimize Costs, Maximize Value, and Master Your Meetings. It's from the third chapter, when we get into specifics about how to improve the ROI of your meetings by collecting metrics of meetings. It's easier than you'd think. Dive in!

You intuitively know whether your meetings create a sense of communal knowledge and purpose or whether they actually frustrate, bore, and confuse. What you need to do is turn that intuitive knowledge into data, and examine that data over time as you work to improve your meeting culture and the ROI for your meetings.

How to Collect Meeting Data

In your mission to use data as one of the tools for improving your meeting culture, you'll be collecting information that can show trends and patterns for your meetings, so you'll need a system where you can save and add to this data over time (in most companies, this will be an ongoing process lasting years). Most meeting productivity systems will automate much or all of this data collection for you; if you have access to one of those, that's the easiest way to get detailed records you can analyze later.

Alternatively, you can collect data in a spreadsheet. Nonprofit management consultant Mark Fulop wrote a great article on tracking meeting performance, including a sample Meeting Effectiveness Excel template (.XLS file), that provides a helpful starting place for creating your own tracking system.


Topics: tips & techniques

Free Tools for Scheduling Your Next Meeting

Feb 3, 2015 by Elise Keith in meeting technology, tips & techniques (5 minute read)

You're in charge of arranging a meeting that includes people from different companies in different time zones. Thanks to the ready availability of online meeting services, you no longer need to worry about travel times or budgets - you simply have to find a time to meet and send out invitations.

That's the good news: meeting online makes it easier than ever to meet with people spread across the globe.

Still, that's easier said than done. When you meet with the people in your company, you simply check their shared calendar to find an open slot and send out the invitation. That won't work this time because you have no idea what the other attendees already have on their schedule.

The challenge: meeting with people outside of your corporate network and local timezone increases the complexity of scheduling.

Related: Free tools for organizing meeting agendas and taking notes

So it begins - the long exchange of email as you try to find a mutually agreeable meeting time. You need a time that everyone has free with a little bit of padding just in case the conversation goes long that isn't during anyone's lunch, not too early, not too late, not on a holiday (accounting for the different holidays for each country and religion involved in the call). The more people involved, the longer this takes.


Topics: meeting technology, tips & techniques

2 Fast and Easy Ways to Get Meeting Feedback

Nov 5, 2014 by Chris Higgins in tips & techniques (4 minute read)

We all sit in meetings. But how often do we examine how well those meetings go? In this post, we'll walk through two simple ways to assess meeting effectiveness, so you'll know how to make your meetings better.

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s cover a few general tips:

  1. Let people know you’ll be asking for feedback
    The easiest way to do this is to include “Feedback” in the agenda as part of your last item. When you don’t let people know you’ll be asking for feedback in advance, they won’t have a chance to gather their thoughts and may resent the extra time - not the best situation for getting useful comments.

    Side note on this one: After every Lucid Meeting, people can provide feedback using an online survey, or they can skip it. If the meeting leader asks the group to fill out the survey, most people provide feedback. On the other hand, if the meeting leader says nothing and the survey just appears automatically, most people skip it.

  2. Keep it short
    Both methods described here can get meeting feedback in 5 minutes or less, although your group can take longer if you all find the conversation productive.

  3. Ask for examples of ways to improve, not about problems.
    We’re all naturally good at pointing out flaws, even when the supposed flaw can’t be fixed or didn’t really matter. You don’t want to ask questions that encourage a negative rant at the end of a meeting.

    Use “what can we improve?” instead “what went wrong?” By asking how to improve, you focus the group on improvement and solutions rather than criticism.


Topics: tips & techniques

5 Icebreakers for Distributed Team Meetings

Sep 30, 2014 by Chris Higgins in remote work, tips & techniques (7 minute read)

When you run online meetings with people who are located in different parts of the world, it's crucial that you help your team make a human connection. "Icebreakers" are just the ticket: short team-building exercises conducted at the beginning of a meeting.

Because you don't have a physical way to get people moving around the same room, you have to adapt traditional icebreakers to work over distance.

Here are some practical tips for introducing an icebreaker activity into your next meeting... and a little advice on pitfalls to avoid!

When to Use or Not Use an Icebreaker

Icebreakers fit into a larger strategy of team-building and establishing team culture. Knowing your team, and knowing your plan to build team culture, is crucial to succeeding with any such exercise. Here are some scenarios in which icebreaker activities may be a GOOD idea:


Topics: remote work, tips & techniques