March 30, 2015
Have you been in meetings and to no avail the outcome was tenuous and/or unclear. Have you been in a meeting you thought was great and yet, there are no next steps. Meetings are highly complex and an art form. It is not simple for two people or more to communicate ideas that are retained and move to action. It is not the talking but the way the content is delivered.
This is the same is in networking. When talking or sharing ideas there is a tipping point where the brain is overload. The overload stems from too many topics or points being introduced. This can reduce the impact of the previous statements or points. Make sure you seek clarity. It is good o ask if you are understood.
Be clear why your in the room but be open to the fact that the other communicator may shift the conversation in your mid sentence — keep listening.
Further, how we consider words are different from others. I love to provide the example that “quality”is understood differently based on your discipline. A person in marketing and engineering value and understand quality differently. Make sure you define words when necessary. We assume we are communicating when we are just talking.
Great conversations and meetings have the elements of transitional words and are amplified by the listeners need. People want to hear what they want to hear so you must convey new ideas in digestible bites like a great meal.
Here are some tips for better meetings:
- Be clear on your interest and goals for the meeting. Never enter a meeting without an intention. Your intention could be not to have an intention and this too can be appreciated when shared.
- Keep the meeting to a time limit- respect for time is important. Start on time and end on time if you request the meeting. If the other party extends the meeting be willing.
- An idea is appreciated or understood quickly if clear and concise. It does not take a long time to convey a concept unless it is rocket science yet to rocket scientist it will not take long. Remember is not clear, the remainder of the meeting is reinforcing the ideas. This can cause the speaker quality points in the meeting because at a point there is diminishing point in which the more you talk you loose ground.
- Never over burden the listener with too many ideas in one meeting. This can cause brain drain and you may leave the listener to decide which points are relevant.
- Use psychology in a meeting. Repeat your needs three times in different ways to reinforce your request. Be polite!
- Feel confident in your position but be open to new information. When new information is presented think agile and integrate if needed. Communication is like dancing when there is a rhythm and movement using tone, physical ques and silence.
- Convey to the other party your deficits in the meeting so you can move beyond the assumptions. For example, I am very bad at remembering names. I make it clear that I am weak in this area so when asked if I remember someone it is easy to respond.
- Trust is great but it is very complex to identify and is produced over time. In any meeting you can get around trust by understanding self-interest. Consider that everyone has a self-interest. If parties can fulfill the others self-interest there is movement. Define and identify the other parties self interest. Make sure you speak to this self-interest without saying, “Your self-interest is…”
- Follow up on meetings with supportive and redirect messages. It’s all about the content and data! Follow up with information in a short blast in the others communication style to support and reinforce your meeting. Long emails can kill the buzz and in world where people scan – keep it short and self-interested.
A great meeting is an art that is developed over time. The communicators within a meeting must be willing to want communication. I have always thought if each of us had informed empathy we would treat and communicate better. Engage if all communications are important. You never know where your next opportunity will come. Keep communication alive for words have a life lived beyond are speaking.