Meetings - Nature and Nurture

By Natalie Macks

Think outside of the box, and by box I mean the office. Customer Success can be heavy on meetings with both internal and external customers. We all have occasion to bemoan how overbooked we are, how so many meetings are unneeded, and how costly they are in terms of time and energy. But the simple fact remains that as social creatures, the best communication is often done face-to-face. Meeting fatigue is a very real thing, so do yourself a favor and consider actually leaving the office for your next meeting. 

Getting outside of the office has many benefits. A fresh perspective reboots our neural networks. Physical activity, even a short walk, gets the blood pumping and promotes well-being. Offsite activities enrich and develop us. Even a short exposure to nature soothes and refocuses. Let’s explore options beyond grabbing coffee or lunch. 

Cater to Your Clients

Time is money and often the lure of a free lunch isn’t tempting enough to get your customer to agree to a face-to-face meeting. Do your homework and find out about other activities that interest your client. Facebook and LinkedIn can be a good starting points, but also reference your notes from previous conversations. What are they going to try and fit in to their day outside of the office? Are they training for a 10k? Are they involved in any Meetups? Do something together and give them an opportunity to check one of those items off their list while building your relationship.

Woo Your Internal Customers

Ensure that your initiatives get the attention they deserve and create allies by getting your coworkers outside of the office. Internal relationships get cemented with new experiences and activities. Suggesting an offsite meeting that caters to an individual’s interests demonstrates your attention to detail and shows that you care. Fresh air and sunlight are proven to elevate moods. Let them elevate your standing with your colleagues as well.

Develop Your Team

One-on-ones and team meetings are perfect opportunities for managers to develop their direct reports with an offsite activity. Get their heart rate up—a healthy employee is a happy employee. Nurture their professional goals. Improve creativity by getting them in a natural setting. Give them an opportunity to express themselves in a way that might be limited in the office environment. Restore their capacity to engage the customer and focus their attention.

Get Out There

It helps to have a few suggestions ready, but also be open to their ideas. You might just be surprised. Here are some events to consider:

  • Go for a walk or run
  • Head to a nearby park, weather permitting
  • Get a mani-pedi appointment
  • Attend a yoga or spin cycle class
  • Volunteer and help out a favorite local non-profit
  • Stroll through an art gallery or museum
  • Listen to a lunchtime concert
  • Check out a professional Meetup together

Be Prepared and Follow Up

Not every meeting is appropriate for a public space. Be mindful in areas where sensitive information could be overheard and stay aware of your surroundings. Don’t let the meeting agenda fall by the wayside. Send it out before hand or have it handy on your mobile so you stay focused on the meeting goals and any any discussion points. Book some time for yourself afterwards to jot down notes and get out any needed follow up communication.

Before you go through the motions of sending out your next meeting request, consider taking it outside of the office. The benefits for you and your meeting attendees will not only carry through the rest of the work day, but will contribute to the well-being of everyone involved. 

The Success League is a consulting firm focused on helping Customer Success teams perform at their peak.  We develop the metrics, playbooks and training programs to ensure your team is healthy and hitting their goals.

Natalie Macks - Natalie builds a culture of dedicated customer evangelists, as well as the systems and processes required for success.  Her award-winning leadership expertise coupled with integrity and passion produce increased customer retention and generate revenue.  With over 15 years in customer-facing roles, Natalie excels in bridging the gap between business technologies and the user experience.  She holds a BA in Zoology/Genetics from Michigan State University and resides in San Francisco, CA.