First, in our executive presentation skills training, we show you that you need to determine what the point of the session should be before you can ascertain what an appropriate follow-up plan should be. To simplify this, one should determine if the meeting was a training session, a sales meeting, or an internal meeting.
If you’re conducting a training session, the most important thing is that people can actually do what you are training them to do. They must be able to recall the information when necessary.
In your training session, pick out the top three to five things you want them to remember, and repeat them often throughout the training.
The second thing you want to do is make sure each participant writes down, in their own handwriting, those three to five things you want them to remember. Information written in one’s own handwriting is retained much longer than information simply acquired in a handout.
The third thing you can do is to have them turn to each other and share three things they learned and how they will apply them. Then have that twosome turn to another twosome and share once again. Then bring the discussion up to the front of the room. This will give people confidence to share openly in front of the group because they’ve already shared with each other. It will also tell you if the information was learned, was misinterpreted, or was completely forgotten by the participants.
In our Sales Training Seminars we show how to have a productive meeting with a sales prospect. You want to close by recapping what was agreed on, what the next steps are, and how you will follow up. Most sales people miss the opportunity to find out from the client how they want you to follow up with them. Some prefer phone calls and some prefer e-mails. If you find out in the meeting exactly how to follow up with them, and agree on when, then you are not pestering the client.
Make sure you have included all the decision makers if you set another meeting! Notice how we went from a mild follow up of, “Sure, I’ll send you information,” to a closing situation where you get in front of the decision-makers. The worst thing you can ever do is to merely send a proposal and hope and pray that they buy from you.
Try to keep your internal meetings short, interactive, and focused on reinforcing the theme, “This is important to you because…”
If you have regular meetings, you can always ask one or two people to recap what was talked about in the meeting and why it is relevant to the group. You can also handle it like a training session, where you have each person share with someone what they’ve learned and how they can apply it. Or you can simply ask the group as a whole, “What are the top two things we will do based on what we’ve shared?”
If you are sharing information one-on-one with a person who has a tendency to “forget,” raise their accountability by asking them to recap what was agreed to. Then ask them how they would like you to follow up with them to make sure that the action has been taken. Then ask them what you should do if they have not performed as agreed. This way you are putting right up front what the expectations are as well as the consequences, so there is no surprise or anger later.