Sales and marketing status meetings, regular ones that happen every week, for example, are designed to test the caffeine content of your favourite drink. Can your double espresso keep you awake through a status meeting? Is a double helping of Trucker’s Choice Stay Alert Capsules up to the task? No. The answer in both cases is no.
A status meeting is a room full of people taking turns trying to remember what they did last week and fumbling to describe it in a way they hope sounds more impressive than it was. Everyone else nods, checks their phones under the table, and waits for their turn to do the same.
But there is a way to get value out of status meetings. Just remember VIA:
V = Visibility
I = Input
A = Action
When it’s time for you to share your story of how you spent the last week, consider if the purpose of each piece of information you’re sharing is to:
V = Give visibility into what you’re doing
I = Ask for input into a decision you’re about to make
A = Request that someone else take action
Then, make it explicit. If you’re sharing 10 items about what you did last week as an FYI, then just say “For the sake of visibility, here are the 10 things I did last week.”
But if you need someone to do something, say “Elaine, I’m going to need some help from you on this next item.”
This has a few benefits:
- By being explicit about why you’re sharing what you’re sharing, it helps you organize your thoughts
- If you leave it to others to figure out how they’ll help you, you’ll be waiting a long time. This way they know exactly what you need from them
- It triggers people to really pay attention to your updates. When they hear their name along with “I need some input” or “I’ll need some action on this” next to it, they’ll wake up long enough to find out what they’re being signed up for.
Now imagine the last few sales or marketing disasters that could have been avoided through the information shared in your status meetings, but were not. Could things have gone better if each person had made it clear whether they were sharing simply for the sake of visibility or if they needed someone’s input or action?
Pair this with the classic Harvard Business Review article describing 4 kinds of meetings, and this shorter Brian Tracy article on how to run an effective meeting.
Note: This post is in no way affiliated with VIA Rail, although they offer a great service, and if they’d like to make me an honourary train engineer for life, I would humbly accept.