Guard Your Time Wisely – 5 Reasons Why Using an Agenda is Powerful

© [www.emotin-flash.de] / Dollar Photo Club

© [www.emotin-flash.de] / Dollar Photo Club

“Is it possible for us to meet sometimes next week? I am changing my business direction and I would like your advice on my plans.” This was the call I got from a former colleague. I said: “sure.” I believe in not charging for my first consultation session with anyone. Thus I agreed to meet with her to see how I may assist her. 

When the former colleague and I met, she went around in circles about this new business direction. She also brought up a subject not quite related to the business. She also brought up a subject not quite related to the business. I shared some information with her while trying to figure out what was the true objective of the meeting. Finally, I told her that I had to meet my obligations to my current clients and walked her out to her vehicle.

Before her departure, she turned to me and said: “I know you are very busy and your time is limited, but I hope I am able to show you the value of my product. I didn’t get the chance to demonstrate it to you.” It immediately clicked in my head that this was her true objective. It wasn’t that she wanted my advice; she wanted to sell me her product!

As you can imagine, I was a bit annoyed that she approached it in such a deceptive way (in my opinion). I would have appreciated that she was more direct about her true intent. I probably would have listened to her pitch in the first place. Instead she wasted her time and mine.

My fellow business owners guard your time wisely. Ask for an agenda prior to meeting with someone that wishes to conduct business with you. Provide an agenda; if you are the one leading the meeting. Here are five reasons why using an agenda is powerful:

1) Clearly Defines Meeting Objective: When you put an agenda together for a meeting, it is wise to state the purpose of the meeting. I generally put that in the overview section of the agenda. It is the first item I list. This reduces any confusion the meeting attendees may have about the reason for the meeting.

2) Keeps the Meeting On Track: It is so easy for a meeting to spiral out of control and run overtime when you don’t have an agenda. People may agree upon the objective of the meeting, but someone may go off on a tangent that veers the meeting in a different direction. This often results in the objective not being met.

3) Respects People’s Time: Time is precious. If you are a business owner, you may realize that times flies quickly. The day is done in flash. Providing an agenda for your meeting shows the folks attending that you value their time. It also helps the meeting time to be utilized more effectively.

4) Uncovers Any Open/New Item: The agenda should include a question and answer period to ensure that all undisclosed items are discussed. You will find that an open/new item section helps to reduce conducting multiple meetings about the same thing. Generally, clearing the air by using the open discussion segment brings everyone to the same understanding.

5) Schedule Follow Up Meetings or Discussions: It is not often that one closes a deal on the first meeting. Usually a one-meeting close occurs during a commoditized product and/or service sale. For the most part, larger or more complex sales take more than one meeting.  If you are just doing business with the person for the first time, you often find that you have to build a relationship with you clients in order to close these types of deals. Putting “Follow-up” on the agenda makes it easier for everyone to coordinate his/her schedule immediately in ordet to set a date for the next conversation.

There are more great reasons for incorporating an agenda into your next meeting. These five methods are the ones that I use to better serve my clients an me. I also suggest that you send the agenda prior to your meeting. This will give the decision maker an opportunity to add necessary items or remove ones that are not relevant.

Again, guard your time wisely. Give your meeting Power. Try these tips when creating your meeting agendas. Let me know how they impact the effectiveness of your meetings. Have a Happy Meeting!

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Webinars Suck – Is That Right? – Part 4 of 4

Webinar Providers.001

Select the Right Webinar Provider

We are almost at the finish line for you to conduct successful Webinars. You may recall in Part 1, we wrote great content. In Part 2, we organized prior to the Webinar. In Part 3, we learned how to be Interactive with our participants.  In this final part (4) you will learn how to select Webinar Providers. The Webinar Platform you choose as your Webinar “stage” is important. Do not use free, cheap or even expensive as your only criteria for selecting  a Webinar provider.

Throughout my career in various positions, I have had to conduct Webinar sessions to a variety of audience: sales people, customers, Value Added Resellers (VARs), customer service representatives, etc. Now as a small business owners, I conduct Webinars as a part of Live a Diamond Life, a Life of Purpose to help people find their true life’s purposes. I also include Webinars as part of my Leadership program to corporations and organizations.

In all these position, I’ve found a webinar is only as good as the platform it is conducted on. At the early stage of the Webinar revolution, many people did not understand the concept that is was simply a conference call that allowed you to share content (data) from your desktop to multiple people simultaneously. Webinars are now widely accepted methods of sharing information.

The processes and platforms have also improved over the years. Yet there are still important matters to consider when selecting a provider.

1) Reliability – Are you able to connect successfully each time you dialing into the Webinar session? You know that making multiply tries to connect to platform gets old very quickly, as the moderator, presenter or participant. It creates frustration and leaves a bad impression on you and your company. You may avoid this by selecting a provider that offers service that has a high percentage of successful connection. This also means that you have to select the right connections to your home or corporate office. Don’t try to conduct a Webinar on a shoddy or shared Internet connection while at Starbucks or Panera!

2) Scalability – Whether you have 5 or 500 participants, you want to know that all parties can get an open port on the Webinar. Have you tried getting on a Webinar only to find out that the session has met the maximum access? If you are unsure of the number of participants, you may want to choose a provider that has a scalable product that can contract or expand based on the number of callers.

3) Stability – I recall a webinar that I was excited about learning to effectively share my blog articles. I registered for the session, included it on my calendar and dialed in. It wasn’t the clings and clangs that got to me, it was the constant dropping of the session. The platform would freeze up and force me to dial back in. The moderator’s voice faded in and out along with some voice clipping. It was a disastrous session. Many participants posted comments about it. The presenter offered a refund and a free session to make up for it. You can minimize this on your Webinar by conducting test sessions prior to the live session. Get others involved with your testing. Once you are satisfied, publish your live session.

4) Security – In this day and age of Hactivism, Identity Fraud, etc. protecting your participants information is important. If providing a strong privacy policy is part of your business, then you need to make choosing a provider with great security part of your decision making. There are providers that address security needs on Webinar platforms. You generally have to pay for these features. Free service providers may not guarantee that your Webinar participants information will be protected.

5) Flexibility – Your participants may use various devices and portals to access your Webinar session. Opt for a provider that offers access from multiple portals (Google Chrome, Explorer, FireFox, etc.) and from multiple devices (tablets, mobile phones and desktops). This will broaden your reach to many folks in the digital community.

6) Pricing – As mentioned prior, pricing should not be the single item to determine a provider; however, it is still important. You don’t want to pay a premium for a particular feature when you can get it for a reasonable rate for another provider. The Webinar arena is becoming more competitive with more providers coming onboard and more useful features being added. Know what your budget can afford and work with a provider that fits most of your other needs at a reasonable price.

7) Customer Service – I don’t know about you, but I prize great customer service. When I company offers great customer service to me, I am more willing to stay with them and purchase more products/services from them. If I’m experiencing issues with a Webinar session or trying to understand a particular feature, I appreciate connecting with a knowledgeable person on the phone that can help me. Ask about the availability of the customer service department before you sign on the dotted line. You don’t want to select a provider with limited or no customer support during a time that you may encounter issues on one of your Webinar sessions that is provider related.

I have used the services of a few providers to conduct my seminars: WebEx, GoToWebinar, join.me and others. I also know, freeconferencecall.com also has a Webinar offering that they call “Online Meeting.” I have not tried this offering yet. These providers all have strong and weak points.

Take the time to do your homework, compare each of these providers features, functionalities and all the points I highlighted in this article, previously. Give them a trial run. Most of them offer a trial period. Test them out. Then select the one that is right for you.

Give yourself a pat on the back! You hung in there for all four parts of this series. I hope that you have gained some information that will prove to be valuable to your Webinars’ success. Remember Webinars don’t have to Suck! Give them great Content, make it Organized, make it Interactive and select the Right Platform, most of all make it Fun!

Until next, keep Living a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose!

Find out how I learned these tips and more from my Diamond Cutters, My Mentors and Coaches, pick up a copy of Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters today.

Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters

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