I had a wonderful opportunity today to speak to the Society of Human Resource Management group in Medina today. Â Tomorrow I will be speaking to a group from the Akron Chamber on LinkedIn. Â Last week I did a session with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Â In each session, you could clearly see who came for a reason and who came because they had to do so. Â And it got me thinking….
When you go to a meeting, why are you there? Â Do you know? Â Can you answer? Â I’m on the programming committee for the Medina Chamber and we plan speakers for meetings. Â There are those who believe the speaker topic is the reason people come out. Â One person told me attendance is largely driven by the weather and in bad weather people stay home. Â So does that mean a truly compelling topic would motivate them to come out?
I don’t think the topics are the driver. Â After all, if you go to a meeting once a month and walk out with new business, you would never miss. (If you aren’t sure how to help make that happen, check out Networking 101) Â So if that’s not happening, why are you attending the meetings you attend?
Right now I want you to look at your calendar. Â Take a look at the next three months and what meetings you have scheduled. Â Make a hash mark under the headings “get business”, “topic”, “have to”, “professional development” and “other”. Â For me, get business means meeting new potential clients as well as new referral sources so I would group those together. Â Now, how do you stack up? Â If the majority are under “get business”, that’s great. Â If you have a bunch under “have to”, really ask yourself why. Â Who feels you need to attend? Â Are they correct? Â Is there anything you can do about that?
It is really important to attend meetings you want to attend and be a part of what is going on. Â If you and the speaker are both willing to take the time to attend something, be involved. Â It was great today that I had friends I could call on so people knew they could participate. Â It made the presentation much better. Â The same is true for any presentation. Â An engaged audience feeds a presenter’s fire and helps keep the momentum. Â A disengaged audience turns you into a bad comedian just waiting for the hook.
Plan to participate in every meeting you attend. Â It will make them go by faster, make them more interesting and you will probably learn something. Â So, do you participate?