Five Types of MeetingsNovember 5, 2014
First Order of Business: Happy Birthday, Daddy Max!
Second Order of Business: It’s an honor to introduce today’s guest blogger… my friend and fellow Master Networker, Brad Douglas. Professionally, Brad leads business development for Alliance Benefit Group and serves as Chairman of the Board for Community America Credit Union. Additionally, he is an active member of a number of not-for-profit boards. He and his wife, Barbara, have three children two in college, one a junior in high school, with whom they are very involved. Despite all of that, he miraculously and consistently finds time to Connect or re-Connect with no fewer than 15-20 people per week. Recently, he explained how he is able to manage the heft of his very busy Networking schedule. He very generously shares his insights in the following post… Enjoy!
Guest post from Brad Douglas:
There are times the demands on my time relentlessly increase as I try to both successfully do my job and simultaneously build relationships in the community. As a result, there are periods of time when I need to prioritize the types of networking meetings I put on my calendar – it gives me focus, flexibility and ultimately leads to better results in reaching my goals. I’m able to do a better job of prioritizing how and where I spend my time by recognizing that there are basically five types of networking meetings:
- Business Meetings. These are meetings that occur with executives either in the process of becoming clients or are already clients. My job is to lead the business development efforts for Alliance Benefit Group 401(k) fiduciary services in the KC region and surrounding states. These business meetings are critical to growing our business and I work to place at least a couple of these on the calendar each week. They are a top priority for my job. They often happen because of the next type of meeting…
- Networking (Relationship-Building) Meetings. These are meetings in the community with people that usually have tremendous value. These people may be connectors, business leaders, or business development folks like myself. I may or may not know these people well in the beginning, but the overall objectives I take into these meetings are:
- Get to know this person – hear their story and be a tremendous listener;
- Decide how I can best help this person; and
- In many cases where this person is interesting, special, and understands how to build relationships, begin to nurture and build this relationship.
Most importantly, I tell myself I need to find a way to follow through and do what I promised this person I’d do for them. Usually, it’s supplying relevant introductions to other people in my network that can help them. Friendships, fun, and business often come from these meetings…
- Community Meetings. I have the privilege to sit on boards for some organizations I’m passionate about. If I’m appropriately engaged and trying to make a difference, meetings with other board members or staff are necessary. Sometimes, meetings in the community arise during which I get the opportunity to advocate for these organizations. These meetings are important and allow me to give back to the community I love…
- Job Seeking/Inquiry Meetings. Most of us have been in the difficult position of having to find our next job – often after we’ve already left our former job. I made a promise to myself a long time ago that I was always going to make time for anyone asking to meet with me as part of their job search. I meet wonderful people and believe I can truly make a difference in their lives. The way I see it, you can never have too many friends or people in whose lives you can make a difference…
- Friends Meetings. We all need to carve out the time to meet with those that care about us. I view these times as essential for the health of my soul. It’s fun to meet with someone that knows me well and where I can be myself while getting honest feedback or advice. I will sometimes set standing meetings with friends quarterly, monthly, or annually to make sure I nurture these relationships. If a lunch networking meeting falls through, I’ll reach out to a friend to see if they’re available to have lunch…
So what does any of this mean? These days I’m finding my calendar filled with “Coffee Lunch Coffee” meetings almost every day, averaging at least a dozen external meetings each week. Once I’ve categorized a meeting request into one of these five “buckets,” it allows me to do a better job of organizing my time. I can reserve spots in the day for certain types of meetings. For instance, I will often work to do a business meeting over a lunch. I usually try to schedule my networking or community meetings over breakfast before my work day gets too far along. I might put job seeking meetings at the end of a day after I know I’ve had the chance to do my job – but still give someone that wants some help my time before I go home.
It’s up to you to decide how you want to structure your time – but it certainly has helped me to organize my external meetings in a way that can give me the focus, flexibility, and better outcomes as I work to make a difference.