Ten commandments for productive meetings
As the year comes to a close and you are invited to be a part of important meetings to review, give an account and plan for the upcoming year, here are a few guidelines to mitigate time wasting distractions and create a productive environment.
Here is a list of don’ts:
Thou shalt not come to the meeting without studying the agenda ahead of time. You should not only be familiar with the topics to be covered but prepared to provide input and answer questions relevant to your job or department.
Thou shalt not come to the meeting preoccupied with all the other things on your plate. Tempting though it may be, this is not the time to think about what you could be doing if you were not in the meeting. The mind can only think about one thing at a time. If everyone commits to being present in the meeting, the laser focus will create a true mastermind.
Thou shalt not digress and ramble. Share your ideas clearly and succinctly. Be sure you remain on topic. Don’t be the one to waste everyone’s time by talking for talking sake. Jot down the points you seek to make before you speak. If you are not adding value, spare your audience.
Thou shalt not bog everyone down in details. You may be passionate about what you do, but most people do not want to hear the technicalities of your job in a meeting. Unless details are the purpose, too much information will suck the energy out of the room.
Thou shalt not speak in ambiguous generalizations. Create credibility by substantiating your claims. Be specific and provide examples. Avoid words like, ‘never’ and ‘always’. ‘Seldom’ and ‘often’ are better choices.
Thou shalt not be dogmatic with your input. Offer your insight in a way that people will be receptive. The way you present your brilliant ideas is often as important as the idea itself. Sometimes asking questions as opposed to making statements is a more powerful way to sell an idea.
Thou shalt not use words like ‘them’ and ‘they’, ‘you’ and ‘y’all’. You will never win others over if you separate yourself. Take ownership for the team’s failures even when it is not your fault. In a team, when one fails, we all fail. Use ‘we’ and ‘us’.
Thou shalt not interrupt. Allow each person to finish their thought. When it is your turn you will appreciate the same.
Thou shalt not erase what others have said. Avoid the words like ‘however’ and ‘but’ when referring to someone else’s opinion. For example, “I understand what you are saying, but…” Remember the word ‘but’ is an eraser, it expunges everything that was said before. Instead, use connecting words like ‘and’. For example, “I understand what you are saying, and if we look at it this way…”. This helps to keep people open to other points of view.
Thou shalt not disregard the previous speaker’s input. Instead, bridge the preceding commentary to create flow and relevance.
Plus one more:
Thou shall not use any variation of the word ‘no’. Try to avoid using words like can’t, won’t, don’t and the like. Learn to keep your wording positive. Instead of, “We can’t do that” try “what we can do is…”. Negative words can be polarizing.
Use these commandments as a guide at your next meeting and let me know if it helped to create a more productive setting.
If you are being held back by the fear of public speaking in the workplace email me for info on my upcoming workshop and learn to “STAR on the Corporate Stage”.
• Kim Welcome is the CEO of Influential Voice. A communication trainer and coach, she assists businesses and professionals to achieve their goals by helping them to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 242-225-9013.
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