Planning a Client Visit, Part 2: Prepping Your Team

You’ve done due diligence to get to know your client. Now it’s time to help your team prepare. While technology tools are helpful in keeping everyone on track, don’t assume people pay as much attention to them as you do.

To help keep your team on track:

1. Set specific deadlines for each person. If a team member is on point for developing materials, set a deadline before the meeting day to review the materials as a team. This gives each person time to provide feedback and revise if necessary. Also, ask each person to review plans or other materials relevant to the project before your deadline.

2. Put time on each person’s schedule to do the work. Book a meeting on each participant’s calendar to study, build their materials and/or prep for the meeting. There is no guarantee that they will use that time, but it is one more tool in your arsenal to help remind them that there is prep work to be done.

3. Pad your timing for the meeting request. Unless you are meeting at your offices, there will be travel time involved. Pad your meeting request by at least a half hour before and after the actual meeting time to ensure your team doesn’t get booked during that time. Include an explanation in both the subject line and the body of the e-mail. For example:

    Sample subject line:
    Meeting with The Writer’s Bloc – Leave office at 1 p.m., meeting at 2 p.m., back by 4 p.m.

4. Book a pre-meeting meeting. Yes, we all know that meetings about meetings are the definition of insanity. Come with an agenda, including a walkthrough of each person’s materials, meeting etiquette and dress code for the meeting. Be prepared to dismiss early if the team is clearly ready to go or needs the extra time to work on meeting-related materials. No one will mind getting back “free” time on their calendar.

Previously: Better Know Your Client
Next time: Final Prep

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