Here’s a scary concept for most florists… staff meetings! Did you just get a shiver running down your spine reading those two words? Why are florists terrified of formally meeting with the people whose pay cheques you sign? I have seen this “meeting phobia” happen in shops of all sizes across the globe. So if meetings fill you with angst, know that you’re in good company.

Whenever I arrive at a shop for training, I always ask the owner/manager the same question: “When was the last time you had a store meeting?” Undoubtedly, I always hear the same two answers: in preparation for a big holiday or when the drama is about to boil over the edge. They go on to give me a litany of lame excuses for not getting together regularly.

We’re just a small team.

            We talk all day long.

            We are all on different schedules.

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            I don’t want the meeting to turn into a complaint-fest.

            I just end up doing all the talking.

So what’s the point?

Well, if you want to increase your sales and build your brand, you need to implement some best practices, and staff meetings are at the top of my list!

Let me quickly dispel all the tired excuses for not getting together and then I will tell you how to conduct the best meeting.

We’re just a small team. Great, but you’re still doing business for profit, correct? And how do you expect to get to the next level without acting like a bigger shop?!

We talk all day long. True, but there is nothing as fruitful as a formal business discussion with an agenda and without the distractions of the phone ringing, customers coming in, vendors making deliveries, etc.

We’re all on different schedules. So what? That’s why you schedule a meeting – so everyone is temporarily in the same place at one time. Decide how many times you will meet for the rest of the year. I like at least once a month but there are no rules. I would suggest four times as the bare minimum. Post those dates on a communal calendar and explain that attendance is mandatory (baring an emergency appendectomy).

I don’t want the meeting to turn into a complaint-fest. Remember who’s in charge! You hold the magic wand and have the ultimate say. If you feel a team member is trying to hijack the meeting, tell him or her that you will be available to discuss that topic afterwards. And, as you’ll see below, you’ll have an agenda to follow to keep things on point.

I just end up doing all the talking. Then that’s a sermon and not a meeting! You need to get your team engaged, sharing their feedback. And I will tell you how…

  • Schedule your meetings outside of work hours – before or after but never during!
  • Consider supplying some refreshments (a big box of Timbits will do the trick).
  • Have a posted agenda on the wall a few weeks in advance displaying what you want to cover and encourage your team to share their items (which you can opt to address or not).
  • Present your items, bring up employees’, and encourage participation by all. Be sure to leave time for some brainstorming.
  • Have someone take notes and make sure to get those minutes out to all within a few days so they know you’re serious about what was discussed.

Trust me, these meetings will be fun, productive and you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t start them long ago.

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Tim Huckabee
Tim Huckabee AIFSE was born, raised and educated in Connecticut and moved to New York City in 1993 to start working at a high-end flower shop called Surroundings, where he learned every aspect of the flower business such as handling telephone sales and customer service issues and dealing with walk-in customers. In his frequent conversations with florists, he realized there was a dire lack of sales and service education in the industry. That motivated him, in 1997, to launch FloralStrategies, a company that trains florists in sales, customer service, and how to get the most out of their POS system. He visits 250 shops annually, hosts a monthly webinar series, speaks at floral conventions, and writes a monthly column for the Society of American Florists.

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