8 min read

Beyond Scheduling: Why the way you set up meetings needs to change and evolve

The state of meetings today 

We’ve come a long way from the Agora in Ancient Greece, where citizens would come together and debate new policy and rules of government in a forum style. Since the inception of industry and the age that came with it, operations expanded at incredible speeds and this necessitated changes in how we communicate and engage with said operations as well as each other. 

Nowadays, meetings are more than commonplace in any professional person’s lives, they are essential. Our days are seldom without them and for better or worse, they’re here to stay until we find a way to communicate telepathically. Some people are great at them, others quite terrible. The way in which meetings are shaped and delivered is vastly contrapuntal but at the end of the day they all do the same thing; communicate. 

The concept of communication becomes particularly interesting when looked at through the lens of sales and marketing. Communicating key aspects of your service or product gains a layer of complexity and nuance when there is something else on the line in terms of the meeting’s outcome, namely, money. 

Meetings are so much more than a rallying call or all hands to some of us. They are the way we make a living and our approach to how we conduct them can both hurt and benefit our bottom lines. 

Oftentimes, however, the meeting experience is just not very good and it's easy to find fault in how people invite, design and conduct them. Is it perhaps that the problem is found on an individual basis, where some people are just naturally more inclined to be better at doing them in the first place? Or is it perhaps that meetings themselves need to change, that the idea and concept of a meeting is something we need to be taking a look at. 

Why are you setting up a meeting

Let’s face it. There’s a lot of beating around the bush when it comes to engaging with others. So often we try to shroud our true intentions under guises of congeniality and friendliness. There is a bit of a dance that occurs between people prior to and during a meeting, one that is often meant to mask the real reason why you’re doing so in the first place. Why do we do this? Why do we feel the need to elaborately hide the fact that we’re trying to procure or provide a service or sell something to someone? Well, it’s because we’re all tired of being promoted at. 

It is very easy to become inundated with sales chatter during the course of a normal day. Whether it be via sales calls, advertising or an incessant flow of brightly colored emails. Everyone is selling something, so we try to negate this often uncomfortable fact by hiding it behind a veneer of approachability and attentiveness. Here’s the thing though, people still need your services, they just don’t particularly like to feel like they’re your next mark. In the attention economy, time is everything. Perhaps the next chapter in the development of the meeting comes from being able to discern someone’s intentions and making yours clear from the get go. 

Why pretend that the interaction you’re having is anything but what it is? Think about why you are setting up or accepting a meeting from someone? Chances are it isn’t just to chin wag. 

What do you hope to gain from setting up a meeting with someone? 

Much of the reason why one becomes meeting-averse is because we’ve all been roped into engagements that had little to no relevance to us. Luckily, we’re able to proceed with solutions that are intended to create context and provide a firmer foothold in our pursuit of the next productive engagement to grace our calendar. 

If you’re able to package your services or product in a way that is embedded in someone’s context, it makes for a more natural path to conversion. When you’re attempting to create opportunities for yourself, there is truly no worse way to do so than walking in guns akimbo and firing shots in the dark. Doing research, gathering intel and adjusting your pitch accordingly means you can suss out how to actually be of service to someone and thereby create a chance to work together in tandem. 

This kind of contextual configuration is of utmost importance to us at OnceHub, as we believe to upgrade the concept of the meeting, we must first upgrade the way we create context. 

When scheduling time with others, it is important to go beyond the simple exchange between a digital calendar and a booking link. Simply indicating desire or willingness to attend a meeting is insufficient in an era where everything, including your services, are a dime a dozen.

Thus, to differentiate your offerings from competition, why not frame the way you intend to meet with someone under an auspice of relevance. This can be achieved rather simply too, with the addition of a few smart solutions to your scheduling setup. 

Some ways you can do so are: 

Routing and qualification

If your services extend beyond a simple one-size-fits-all solution, you’re probably going to have to tailor your varying offerings to specific people with specific needs. This makes going in blind even more difficult, as there is a possibility that the other party could feel like you’re wasting their time or that you’re not adequately prepared to deal with them. 

Enter routing and qualification. By embedding a OnceHub form into your website and scheduling infrastructure, you’re able to get to the bottom of things quickly and establish key areas of concern for your visitors that you can later be of assistance to. 

By allowing them to describe and convey their needs, you give yourself a head start in assisting them. Forms are extremely customizable and can be set up with a variety of inputs and interactions that allow you to easily procure the information you need to get the upper hand. To learn more about how they can work for you and your organization, click here.

Conversational marketing

There is simply no better way to convert someone than with the power of conversation. Chances are that your funnel has a variety of elements that empower you to move people through it already. Think of conversational marketing as an addition that helps all of the existing facets gain the upper hand. By engaging your audience or visitors in productive conversation, you stand to upgrade said funnel into a flywheel, and who doesn’t love recurring business. 

We navigate a variety of digital spaces on a daily basis, and sometimes getting to your required destination can be a tricky affair. Perhaps you’re looking for a FAQ, perhaps you need urgent assistance with your account. The best way to provide people with these requests in the fastest way possible, is through the implementation of a well-geared chatbot or digital assistant. 

With a bit of configuration and set up, you can provide your visitors with the means to easily navigate and make use of your automations in a way that is beneficial to them. In a world where time is saved while solutions are provided, everyone wins. 

Empowering your incoming traffic

So much of how we perceive automations and digital tools can be traced back to how they make us feel. Frustration is a conversion killer that might mean the difference between a returning customer and a lost opportunity. By empowering the people who wish to make use of your services to do so in a way that is beneficial to them and their time, you’re able to achieve something that is altogether rather rare these days; trust. 

If your time saving implementations only really do so for you, that’s not a fair deal on the other end of the dynamic. So approach these solutions as if you were the client and devise means so that they can feel as if they’re in the driver seat of your pending interactions and are able to navigate their experience with you easily.

Receiving feedback on meetings themselves

Which brings us to the next step in the evolution of the meeting process. Feedback. 

If meetings and engagements are important to the success of your business, getting feedback on how they were arranged and conducted can provide invaluable insight into how you can improve them. Try to implement a step in your scheduling infrastructure and process that allows you to collect and collate responses to your engagements, and learn from them in future. 

This can be easily accomplished via a OnceHub form, or perhaps a supplementary chatbot dialogue that is accessed after a completed engagement. Feedback is not only an important tool for management, but an important addition to improving your funnel and setting yourself up for continued success. 

Time is always of the essence

Which brings us to the most urgent part of the evolutionary meeting shake-up. At its core, the concept of the meeting relies on the assumption that two or more parties have an adequate amount of time at their disposal to actually do so. In an increasingly vibrant and crowded calendar it is hard to designate much of anything to matters not deemed essential to a preferred outcome. By taking this into consideration and adapting the way you approach others to do business or information, you’re showing respect for their schedule and finding modes of engagement that benefit both parties. 

Context is king, simple calendar interfaces are insufficient, and navigational ease is of utmost importance. To get started on upgrading the way you schedule time with others, click here.