Are You Making the Most of Your Meetings? Ideas 7-9:

8 May

7. Avoid dwelling on problems

When someone points out a barrier or even brings up something negative, be sure to listen to him/her.  After all, showing respect for one another is demonstrated when you are perceived by others as a good listener.  Avoid immediately judging their negative comments.  Instead, understand what the person is saying and trying to say.   

Keep the conversation from dwelling too long on the negative or the problem itself.  To help you achieve this end, pay attention to how much time is devoted to analyzing the problem.  Remember, analyzing a problem rarely requires having anyone take action.

Next, ask the type of questions that will help to shift everyone’s focus from what’s wrong to what can be done to “move a ball forward” (after all, there are customers to serve and goals to be achieved).  Perhaps asking something like, “What you are saying makes sense.  You certainly have invested a lot of time to analyze what’s wrong.  In your analysis, have you come up with any ideas to correct the problem?” will help refocus everyone and enable them to use their energies productively.

8. Make the meeting a learning experience

Rather than think you have to have all the answers, ask for ideas and insights from other “experts” in the meeting.  The meeting will stay robust because everyone is engaged.

 9. Ask more, tell less

 One of the fastest ways to shut people up is to jump in during what appears to be a discussion and start telling everyone “the way it is.”  To keep this from happening, ask questions.  As a cautionary note, watch your tone of voice.  A certain “tone” can also cause people to clam up.


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