Got Chops? Open up at Meetings!
Posted on August 13, 2014 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
After reading a great blog from Roz Usher, a leadership, image and branding specialist, entitled, “Silence is NOT Golden or When and How to Speak Up During A Meeting,” I naturally want to embellish even more into the heart of employee engagement.
Roz touches on employee engagement by noting how the silent people at meetings may appear to be disengaged by not participating. However, in my experience it is more the case of very much engaged employees afraid to speak out or interrupt a filibuster conducted by a chatty manager or a bloviated bulldozer.
We know that communication is 80% listening. The listener decides if communication is to take place. However at meetings, participation is mandatory in order to accomplish the meeting objectives. You were invited to the meeting for a reason. If you were in doubt that you should attend, ask the meeting coordinator what your purpose is at the meeting so you can prepare for it as Roz suggests in her blog.
Let’s zero in very closely to what people are possibly thinking at (unorganized) meetings:
- I have another meeting right after this, and that’s going to be a disaster.
- I’m afraid to mention this idea again, because Dave thought it stunk last time. I still think it has merit but I don’t want to be embarrassed by Dave again.
- Is this the right moment to interrupt with my thoughts on this?
- I’m not going to say a word until someone asks me a question. Every time I offer my ideas, I get the cold shoulder or someone rolls their eyes. I’m getting really tired of that. I’ll tell my manager my ideas after the meeting.
- Dare I say this and the CEO gets bent out of shape. Forget it.
- Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, I’m saying something!
- This must be the Bob and Jane show. They must think they are the only ones with worthy enough ideas and the rest of us are idiots! Reminds me of grade school cliques!
- Boy, am I tired. I can’t wait until this is over.
At an organized meeting, where everyone is – or should be prepared – the thoughts will be more engaged:
- I feel energized now that I prepared with these visual aids and have no doubt they will be a sensation with the managers.
- I have a great idea and I can’t wait until we get on topic so I can tell the group.
- Man, I’m so glad we are going round-table and had a real agenda this time, because I was starting to think these meetings were going nowhere!
- Okay, here comes my turn to say something, make it a good one and don’t stutter!
- Good thing we have a meeting facilitator now so that we can be sure we’re headed in the right direction in order to solve all these problems. We just couldn’t have afforded the time to waste on unproductive meetings!
I think many of us can relate to the above. I still believe in meeting basics:
- Facilitator – Guides the meeting with gentle reminders how to conduct them.
- Leader – Other than a manager sends out the agenda one week in advance of the meeting and ensures that all points on it are completed, or announces a continuance for the next meeting.
- Attendees/Participants – Should prepare for the meeting in advance as to what is expected of them.
- Minute Taker – Someone who is assigned to record the meeting highlights.
Do you want to attend meetings and wing it? Do you want to attend meetings and be like the door mouse at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, always trying to take a snooze? Or do you prefer a more structured meeting where progress is made by virtue of good facilitation? Write and let me know.