How often does the top of the hour roll around in a meeting or sales presentation, with everyone engaged but needing to run to their next meeting? The last few minutes are filled with vague statements to “follow up with this soon” – but too often, nothing happens.
To avoid this, plan your meetings and presentations so that the last 20 percent of your time is reserved for discussing concrete next steps. This applies no matter the length of your meeting – the last 12 minutes for an hour-long meeting, the last 24 for two hours. Talking about ideas or the far-off future at the end of your meeting does nothing to propel things forward. (And if you haven’t convinced someone in the first 80 percent of your time, you’re not going to reach them in those last minutes!) Instead, you have to take advantage of those moments when someone is moved, touched and inspired to action. No matter how long your meeting, make sure you save those key ending moments to talk about those actions and ensure that all parties commit to a solid plan to follow through.