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The Seven Most Important Words in Marketing Meetings

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
Dug the Talking Dog cartoon character

Dug, The Talking Dog

I have to admit that I have a reputation for being a bit “attention deficit,” especially in meetings with my internal team members. Like Dug, the talking dog in the Disney/Pixar movie UP, I can easily get distracted. (Squirrel!)

Take 20-seconds to meet Dug in this clip from this Academy Award-winning animated feature.

Dug the Talking Dog sees squirrel in the movie Up

Now that I am CEO of our fast-growing medical advertising agency, “being a bit ADD” isn't cute. (My team tells me it never was.)

So the one thing that is really helping when I give direction to my team is to ask everyone, "So, what exactly are your next steps?"

It’s quick, easy and amazingly powerful. That simple question brings clarity and action to the topic. I’ve learned that ending a marketing meeting—or any kind of meeting for that matter—with a flurry of provocative discussion creates “mutual mystification” as to what happens next.

A lively discussion has value, but ultimately progress, and accountability, result from focus, decisions, and determining exactly WHO is going to do WHAT and by WHEN. It helps all of us.

This advice may sound a bit obvious to many people, but we’ve all suffered through rambling meetings where much is said, but little is done. Leadership and productivity require mastering this simple point of focus. And fortunately, it’s possible to draw on the strengths of detail-oriented colleagues to help assure that the follow-through steps happen.

Some people are naturals at this, but it’s a challenge for me. It just doesn't fit my creative—and easily distracted—nature. I’m working on it. No doubt there are other helpful ideas. And if you have any great stories related to this, I’d love to hear them. Please share you comments below.

Meanwhile, I've got to go now. I see another "Squirrel!"

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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