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Tips for Effective Meeting Agendas For Discussing Energy

January 20, 2016 / by Max Dworkin

You’ve gotten the meeting and you’re ready to dig into the details with your customer.  To make the most of this opportunity, you want to be sure you’re not wasting anyone’s time. A great agenda can go a long way towards a great meeting, and ultimately the energy decisions you want.

First, the basics:

Outline who is going to moderate the agenda and keep things moving in order to get the most out of the session.

Once all the attendees are present, review the agenda to set expectations on each item. Quickly summarize what the goal is for each agenda item, explaining what you intend to accomplish.  

Create a format that is is interactive and not a “presentation.” This is just as much about learning for you as it about learning for the customer.  

Ensure that time is allocated appropriately for each key subject and try to keep any session to under 1 hour.

Sample Agenda 1 -  The Energy Warmer (~30min)

Purpose: Used for kicking off an engagement.

This can be a great opportunity show that you know about the customers business, so be sure to research ahead and come prepared.

 

  1. Introductions - 5 min Keep this brief.  When you do your intro, be sure to bring up some key insights that you have about their business to show you are prepared.
  2. Why Are We Here? - 5 min - State the purpose of the energy discussion and outline some industry benchmarks you have seen from past successful customer engagements.  Ask if there is anything that the group would like to add to the agenda
  3. What Can You Expect? - 10 min - Outline the process, timelines and goals of each step. Ask who in the session will support each of these items?
  4. Schedule a the Next Session - 5 min - Get commitment for dates, times or windows to look into and confirm the next session.
  5. End 5 min early :)

Sample Agenda 2 - Discovery Fun (~60min)

Purpose: Used for educating a customer.

This is your gold.  This customer wants to be proactive or engage on energy management, but has little or no hands-on experience, comprehension of the possible, and what success might look like or require.

  1. Introductions - 5 min - Keep this brief.  Speak to the trends and opportunities available today.  Describe your team and your process.
  2. Frame the Need for an Energy Management System (ie Program) - Describe the importance of continuous improvement to be effective now and in the long term.  Tip: Leverage Energy Star’s 7 Step Guidelines for Energy Management and supporting materials to structure your discovery.
  3. Define the Stakeholders - This should be cross functional: Engineering, Purchasing, Facilities, Real Estate, Senior Leadership
  4. Define the Objectives and Chain of Command -  establish roles for accountability.
  5. Define Performance Assessment - outline how you will measure performance (data collection, benchmarking, analysis, etc.)  
  6. Discuss Goal Setting - emphasize the importance of setting goals and how those will be defined after Discovery and Analysis
  7. Define Your Action Plan and Deliverables - what they will look like, how the client will need to support and interact in the process.
  8. Define Progress Evaluation and Achievement Recognition -  how you will evaluate progress and recognize achievements for human participants inside the company?
  9. Define and Summarize Next Steps  - include associated time frames or dates to be confirmed shortly after the meeting.

Here are a few of the questions we like to ask to gain energy insights during our Discovery sessions:

  • What metrics do you use in measuring your core business today? Define both financial and other outcomes.
  • For these specific goal categories, please rank them 1-10 on importance: Reduce carbon/GHG emissions, Increase reliability, resiliency, uptime of operations, Increase occupant comfort… etc
  • To what level is the CEO/CFO involved in managing and executing energy projects?
  • When trying to make decisions on energy which departments get involved and which ones help or get in your way?

Correlate has perfected these agendas.

Learn More

Sample Agenda 3 -  Web Demo! (~30-60min)

Purpose: Showing off the possibilities you can offer.

If you are reviewing a proposal or going over your software this meeting is one of the most important.  With technology innovation, more and more of these sessions are being conducted online and not in person.  Either way, it is important to hit all of your goals and be crisp with your talking points.  Leaving sufficient time for feedback and dialogue is probably the most important aspect of these meetings.  How else do you know what do next?

  1. Rapport Building and Catch Up - 5min - By now you should have a pretty good relationship with the customer a check in on their lives always goes a long way!
  2. Outline -  5 min - Imagine you’re the executive and you only have 5min, what you want to know?  Cover that and ask the customer “What else would you like to focus in on?”
  3. Tie Back - 15 min -  You had a fantastic Discovery session (Agenda 2) and you learned what is important to your customer. Now, tie back your proposal to how you have satisfied their goals here.
  4. Feedback - Balance of time -  This is where the value of the meeting is.  If you have met the goals and illustrated this, then it is time for your open ended questions that support a close. For instance, "From your comments, it sounds like pursuing these energy retrofits would save you money and meet your financial goals.  What can we do to move this project forward?"

Bonus Insights: Tools of the Trade

If you can’t be with you customer in person you don't have to break the bank to run a great meeting. The free services  of Uberconference or Join.me offer multi party conference calls and screen sharing as well as audio recording.  There are also many software tools that can be used to see how a customer interacts with your proposals.  The data from this interaction can help let you know if you have an engaged customer with momentum behind them.  Clearside is a great example of this functionality.

Share your tips with us here!

 

Topics: energy management, energy partners

Max Dworkin

Written by Max Dworkin

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