Why Being Intentional Is the Antidote To Long, Unproductive Meetings

Dan Sullivan
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For True Entrepreneurial Freedom, You Have To Be The Buyer

In business, there are few things more dreaded than long and unproductive meetings.

They drain your time and energy, they distract you from important tasks, and they often leave you (and everyone else) more confused about your objective than you were when you first walked in … which means you’ll probably have to sit through another meeting just to repair the damage caused by the first.

It’s a reality of the working world. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

A little planning goes a long way.

With just a simple shift in thinking and a small investment of your time and brain power, you can make every meeting the best of your life. You can make them short, productive, and energizing.

Sound too good to be true?

I promise you, it’s not.

You just have to become the buyer, not the seller. You have to walk in knowing exactly what you want. Because when you’re not clear on what you want, you always wind up with less than what you want.

Want to try it out for yourself? Download your copy of Extraordinary Impact Filter now to learn a quick and simple way to make every meeting count.

Being intentional.

That’s why I enter every single meeting knowing I came to buy something, and I’m not buying anything else (or less) than that particular thing. And I do it with a fantastic tool called The Impact Filter. It’s my favorite tool here at Coach and it’s also a mandatory one; I never go into a meeting without filling one out, and nobody can call a meeting with me without filling one out either.

No Impact Filter, no meeting.

The Impact Filter turns every meeting into a project, which means you go into it with a clear objective in mind, right off the bat.

When you think about it, there’s nothing inherently goal-oriented about a meeting—you could spend an hour talking about the weather and it would still be considered a “meeting.” But when you’re proposing a project, you’re proposing something you’d like to achieve.

So now your meeting has a purpose.

From there, you have to decide why it’s important. Why will achieving this purpose make a difference, and how?

Now you’ve created value.

Next, you outline what the best possible outcome would be if your objective were met, as well as the worst possible outcome if weren’t—just to scare yourself a little. It’s this bit of mental gymnastics, this act of being intentional, that transforms you from being the seller to being the buyer. As soon as you have success criteria laid out for your project, you have a clear way to measure whether the meeting goes well or poorly. You’re buying one outcome and one outcome only.

Avoiding complexity, confusion, and decision fatigue.

When I’m the buyer, I can walk into any room and know with certainty whether to say “yes” or “no” to someone. I don’t get caught up in the complexity of the meeting because I came to buy something specific, and I’m not buying anything beyond that. (Unless, that is, someone offers something bigger and better than my original vision. But it’s the pre-thinking of The Impact Filter that allows me to recognize, instantly, when that happens.)

Simply put, being the buyer puts you in the driver’s seat of your own experience rather than subject to the whims of the people around you.

Better meetings, fewer meetings.

Another benefit of my use of The Impact Filter is that I don’t have many meetings at all anymore in the traditional sense. What I have is a set of instructions I can send to someone who can either take immediate action on it or speak with me about it first. And those conversations are short, focused, and high-energy—the best kind!

Being the buyer in every situation.

The great thing is, this mentality doesn’t just apply to work. You can be the buyer of every experience you walk into. Whether it’s a tough conversation you want to have, a literal purchase you need to make, or even a vacation you’re planning to take, when you’re the buyer, you’re in charge. And that’s a powerful position to be in.