As a consultant, you're expected to run a professional business meeting. In the few minutes before a meeting starts you can be as nice as you want, ask your client how their kids are doing and so on, but once the meeting starts it should be as quick and efficient as possible.
The "secret" to making a meeting snappy is simple:
Know what you want out of the meeting before it starts.
When you go into a meeting that you’re running, you should know exactly what you want out of the meeting. For instance, when I play the role of a Business Analyst who’s designing a software system, I focus on only three things:
Because I know I have these larger goals, I often walk into a specific meeting with the thought, "In today’s meeting we’re going to finish the Order Entry portion of the database design." Furthermore, because I know this is what I want, I send out a meeting invitation well beforehand, stating this specific goal, and I supply any materials I think the meeting participants will need. Once the meeting begins, I keep it focused only on the Order Entry database.
In other meetings you may play the role of salesperson or sales consultant, where the end goal of the meeting is to walk out with a signed sales agreement. As a result, you should have a contract prepared and ready for a signature, and you should be prepared to handle any final objections and close the deal.
Although he wasn’t necessarily talking about meetings, Stephen Covey said it very well:
Begin with the end in mind.
This article is continued in my eBook, which is only $2.99 on Amazon.com:
I hope you enjoy this article and my book, and more than that, I hope it helps you have a very profitable and rewarding career.