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Achieve Jeff Bezos–Level Success in Your Meetings
The leader of Amazon has a few tips on how to turn humdrum sales meetings into a source for brilliant ideas.
October 25, 2018
Jeff Bezos, the man who has changed how we shop, control our appliances, and spend our free time, has something to say about how to run a productive meeting.
“[At Amazon,] we try to create teams (and meetings) that are no larger than can be fed by two pizzas,” Bezos is quoted as saying in an April 2018 INC article.
If you have a large real estate office, you may be able to understand Bezos’s thinking here. The more people in a sales meeting, the more difficult it is to reach conclusions and for everyone’s voice to be heard. With a two-pizza meeting rule, it’s possible to get a balance of diverse viewpoints and ideas while being agile and manageable. That might mean you divide your agents into different sales meetings each week.
Bezos also has another rule: no PowerPoint presentations.
“Someone has prepared a six-page narratively structured memo. It has real sentences, and topic sentences, and verbs, and nouns—it's not just bullet points,” he said, discussing materials that are arranged for important meetings.
Again, Bezos is on point. According to neurologists, our brains process good storytelling better than hard data. We’ve grown up hearing stories told to us at night before we go to sleep. Our brains are wired for storytelling.
Additionally, memos or documents written in a narrative voice give authors the chance to fully communicate their thoughts behind ideas. This helps the audience—be it your agents, team, or clients—better understand the concepts presented.
Bezos said in his interview that each meeting begins with everyone reading the memos in silence. "It's like a study hall. Everybody sits around the table, and we read silently, for usually about half an hour, however long it takes us to read the document. And then we discuss it."
Though your memos may not be as lengthy, it could benefit your agents to write down various sales topics and scenarios, sales numbers, even anecdotal stories and roleplaying. By reading at the beginning of the meeting, everyone is prepared and focused on the topic at hand. And you, as the leader of the meeting, are better prepared to lead discussions about the topic because you took the time to write the content down.
One more thing: Bezos schedules his meetings between 10 a.m. and 12 noon because he likes to have breakfast with his family first. He also believes that decisions made after noon are not as good as those made in the morning.