UpdateAI – Zoom meeting assistant

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be present – to be mindful of the moment happening right now.

With Slack notifications, texts, emails, social media posts, and calendar reminders, we’re constantly bombarded with new information. Consequently, we often don’t leave time for planning, or waiting – just moving onto the next thing we have to do.

In order to build the best relationships with customers that lead to revenue growth, it is important to stay PRESENT in meetings, or any client interaction really. I mean being literally present, for starters, but I also mean the acronym P.R.E.S.E.N.T.™, a meeting methodology developed as part of the Growth Molecules Customer Success Training Academy. Let’s review more specifically because if you can keep this framework in mind, your meetings and relationships will benefit. 


P – Prepare 

First, Prepare yourself for your meeting. As CSMs, we are so customer-focused that we often forget about ourselves. Crazy concept right? We have to make ourselves better to better serve our customers.Take time before your meeting to get yourself situated, including your space and mind. Take a moment to have a snack, drink some water, and go to the bathroom if you need. The back-to-back meetings and grind keeps you from being as proactive as you want to be because you are constantly rushing in between interactions.

The next step is to rid your workspace of distractions. You should turn your phone on silent and mute any unnecessary notifications to make sure you’re not distracted during the meeting. I mean, really set “Do Not Disturb” and turn them off. At the same time, close irrelevant tabs or browser windows on your computer and move your dog to another room (although that is a hard one!). Then, before the meeting begins, review your notes so that your key points are fresh in your head. Working from home will always have life-happenstances or things that cannot be controlled but at least you tried to make your environment ready to interact and be present within your control.

With virtual interactions at an all time high, ask yourself if you are camera ready? Do you look professional and prepared for the meeting? Is your virtual or shared background distracting or appropriate for the meeting? If you are going to show your screen, is the correct tab open? These are all quick small adjustments that can help to remove possible distractions or deterrents from  your interactions with customers.


R – Results

Every meeting should be results-oriented. Be results-orientated as early as the subject line in your email and meeting invite, all the way to running the meeting itself. What is the goal of the meeting and offer it up early. When starting the meeting, practice the S.T.A.R.T.™ methodology and make sure to state the reason for connecting. At the end of the meeting, ask if this meeting resulted in solutions, understanding, or accomplished the goal.

Part of being result-oriented is also showing impact.This is also the opportunity to review any key metrics that need to be discussed with your team. Without results, customers will have a hard time connecting any interaction or meeting with their North Star or their Why. By using results, metrics, milestones, system reports and usage, even best practices, with the meeting subject or topic, it creates a sense of accountability and opportunity for more discovery about their needs and next steps.


E – Emotional Intelligence

Remember, your meeting isn’t occurring in a vacuum. You should be mindful of how both you and the other people in the meeting are feeling. To best be present, we like to focus on two of the four quadrants of Emotional Intelligence more specifically – Social Awareness and Self Awareness.

A few questions to keep in mind as the meeting progresses: Did you prepare effectively? Are you being socially aware? This would be taking the time to be more socially aware or practice Social Awareness. Whether we like it or not, if we are having a stressful day leading up to a customer-facing interaction or outside feelings and emotions causing challenges, we can carry that with us into a meeting. Take the time to reshuffle priorities, take a quick walk beforehand, schedule a bit more time before meetings to not feel rushed to hopefully release or pause those emotions prior to your next meeting.

Self-Awareness is where you are able to empathize and understand social cues or interactions and be open to learning from others. Are you taking notice of the tone and body language of your client? Is your client being present? Do they have their arms crossed, camera off, or muted the entire call? Being more self-aware of what you see and hear from another, can lead to strong relationship building and deeper understanding of your customer.

This also means being honest with yourself. If you are unable to pause emotions or external factors from disrupting your ability to be your very best support for your customer, you may want to stop the meeting and reschedule it. Business is important, but it’s also built on relationships; maintaining a positive relationship with your client is paramount.


S – Situation 

The situation is an extension of the meeting’s reason. Every call has a purpose (remember “R” from S.T.A.R.T.™?) and it’s important you keep that goal in mind. It’s ok to let the conversation veer off-topic occasionally, but don’t allow the meeting to stray too far from the main objective. 

That means you need to be ready for the situation – for the moment at hand. Do your research before the meeting. Review your notes from previous meetings and think about the interactions that you’ve had with your client. Understand why this call is happening. Is there additional information to your customer’s story?

Because you’ve done your research or know more about the situation,ome prepared with questions for your client. This not only helps you understand the situation better, but it shows that you are prepared. Have some open-ended questions prepared to give the client more of an opportunity to share.

Now that the customer is onboarded and understands the product, now what? That’s where regular meetings come into place. Establish a cadence that works for both sides, but remember, these should never be “check in” meetings. You should come to each meeting with a clear agenda, ready to discuss business topics. Of course it’s fine to talk about ancillary topics when they come up, but don’t wing it. Always have a plan and don’t waste the customer’s time.


E – Engagement 

Make sure you are engaged in the meeting whether you are speaking or not. Look into the camera, making sure it is level and straight on or slightly above you, pointing downward for the most flattering angle. If you need to look away to read your notes, you should mention it in advance whenever you can. Also, know when and how to pivot the conversation from one agenda item to the next. This is important to not let items linger or be discussed too long, especially if they’ve been completed.


N – Notes 

Notes help you recall information about your clients – which means good, thorough notes can often be a lifesaver when you forget a key point and you’re in the middle of a speaking. 

Thankfully, keeping notes helps you remember things better! You will retain 90% more of what you are trying to remember if you write it down. That doesn’t mean you have to write out long sentences, either. You can write down buzzwords, key details, or things that the client brings up repeatedly to help keep you alert and trigger the memory of this part of the interaction quickly. If you choose to not handwrite notes, a service like UpdateAI can help you keep track of action items.

T – Time Management

Time can be tricky and often it is limited. All the more reason this P.R.E.S.E.N.T.™ methodology ends here. Keep track of the time to make sure the call is moving at a good pace. In addition to meetings only containing 2-3 agenda items, strong time management will provide results, where everyone will leave the meeting knowing they are moving toward their goals.

Most important trick is to leave time (aka: buffer) for you to prepare for your next meeting, if you have one soon after the current one wraps up. Features like “speedy meetings” in Google Calendar that automatically shorten your scheduled calls by 5 minutes will create 25, 40 or 55 minute events. . Other booking tools like Calendly and Hubspot provide similar features, as well as advanced options that can factor in before and after buffers into your client-facing events and even, limit the number of types of events so you can more efficiently plan and prepare for them

Taking the time to be P.R.E.S.E.N.T.™, will ultimately provide you the time, tools, and talent as the client’s leader and expert of your products and services.

This article was written in collaboration with Annie Stefano, Educator and Consultant at Growth Molecules. Growth Molecules creates custom and scalable Customer Success programs that maximize customer lifetime value and revenue. To learn more, visit https://growthmolecules.com/