In April I continued my attack on the skies (and airports) of America, bouncing around the country on a variety of projects for a variety of clients. I crossed the country from California to New York working in all three of my areas, presentation, education and consultation. My activity was a great example of what keeps my job so interesting: I did 12 completely different projects for 12 different clients in eight different industries. WOW, that really keeps you on your toes! Here are a few highlights:

Windows Media PlayerThought you might find my latest discussion on simplicity interesting. Just click on the Windows Media Player icon on the right.

Drop me a note and let me know how things are with you.


"Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything."-- John Kenneth Galbraith

I spend my life in meetings, all kinds of meetings: planning, strategic, educational, sales, informative... you name it. If there were 31 flavors of meetings, I would have tasted them all. In this morass of business get-togethers, I have seen fantastically well-planned meetings, and I have seen Titanic-like meetings without a single thought given to the desired outcome. I have watched brilliant strategies being launched and creative ideas come into being. At the same time I have seen potential wasted at a level that would boggle your mind. How can there be such a wide range of impact when it comes to meetings? I hate to say it, but the cause is ignorance. People just plain don't have any idea that a meeting can be anything other than a beating, a condemnation of time spent in myriad hours of useless impact. Guess what? They're WRONG.

Think, just for a minute. Where can you find, in one place, a group of impactful people with yet untapped potential? How about a meeting? Usually, gathered in a single moment of time and space are the people who can impact whatever it is they are assembled to discuss. Wouldn't it be nice to walk out of such a gathering and say, "WOW, I can't wait to get started!" Ahh, if only it were that easy. If only the idea of a meeting could be structured that way. Well, it can, but first a lot has to change.

ChecklistThe Opportunity of Meeting is a strategic, emotional attack on the idea of meeting, with a nice dash of personal accountability thrown in for good measure. Here is a very brief idea of what a movement to throw out the old pre-determined mind set about meetings would look like. It has (you probably guessed it) only three parts, but three parts that require deep effort. Keep in mind... this is all about the opportunity that exists when you have the right people in the right place to impact outcome. It's WORTH the effort.

Bad MeetingFirst, you have to battle... and I mean FIGHT... against historical experience and expectations. When you see a meeting coming up, you tend to retreat into "history" mode. You begin a painful trip into a past filled with the despair of minutes moving like molasses on a winter's day. You expect to see Dante's sign that hung over Hell: "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." This is the first problem, fighting history, so you have to consciously focus on a strategy that sets the stage differently, that obliterates that historical perspective.

Magnetic AttractionPRE: What is done ahead of the meeting? You should be thinking about the space and time that exist BEFORE the meeting. This is a critical part of an impactful and opportunistic get-together. The idea is to create ANTICIPATION. What would make someone WANT to come to the meeting? What can you do to connect participation to a desired outcome? This is a strategic approach to gaining the momentum that makes ANY meeting worth holding. This is the first step in creating a sense of theme and continuity that moves through the meeting. And when you count the person-hours involved in any meeting, it is not unreasonable to invest some thought and effort in advance. I don't care if it's the weekly staff meeting or the national sales meeting. I don't care if it involves the maintenance personnel or your top customers. ALL meetings have the opportunity and potential for impact. Think of creating a simple spark for the meeting. It might be a new tight agenda that respects the time of each participant. It might be a simple homework assignment that gets them thinking ahead of the meeting. It could be an article they should read or a video they should watch or a podcast they should listen to. It is about creating a "beginning."

MEETING:This is the event itself. Let's look at the basics. First, there is content and delivery. Is the content in line with your Pre-Meeting strategy? Does your plan connect what you want to say with what the audience wants to hear? A content plan makes sure there are no gaps between presentation and expectations. Next, what about the delivery of the content? Does the delivery engage the audience, challenge the way they think? Does it stress visuals over an unsupported (and always boring) lecture style? Does it create desire, the want to know what's next?

With regard to your core responsibilities, next make sure the basics are met. Arrive early, check the room for set up, temperature, visual lines to the front of the room. Do the pens at the flipchart work? Greet everyone. Have a strong opening with introductions. Have a strong closing with a call to action.

The meeting, the event, is the heart of this impact strategy. Is it treated as a true event?

Follow UpPOST: Now the meeting is done. You did a great job of planning for the pre and event, but you're not done. You think that after all that work, you can just relax and bask in the success of a wonderful experience? Hold on, no rest just yet. Think about all the energy you just created, all the good will, all the new knowledge you imparted to the audience, your future clients. You need to capture it. You can't let all that energy vanish. You need a post-event strategy. Here is one idea:

Meetings should not be the "black holes" of your time. When approached with a conscious strategy, meetings are the springboard of opportunity. Imagine you are a Tupperware salesperson and the room is filled with people whose refrigerators are filled with rotting food. How hard would it be to turn that meeting into a sales bonanza? It just takes a small amount of effort to rewrite your meeting history.


Interested in these ideas?


You can contact Steve at steve@creativeventures.com or give him a call at 972-490-7717.
See more at creativeventures.com and stephenharvill.com