Love ‘em or hate ‘em, meetings are part of our working life. As a leader in meetings, there are a few techniques that you can use to draw people into the meeting and get them contributing. This makes the meeting more productive as everyone is contributing and quicker as you are not sitting around waiting for someone to volunteer the information you are after.
So in your next meeting (which will probably be later today) try some of these techniques:
- Where possible, avoid meetings straight after lunch. People naturally become sleepy after lunch. Meeting when our bodies are wanting to sleep does not bode well for interaction.
- Speak to one and address many. This is an amazingly simple technique that will bring people into what you are saying. How do you do this? Simply use the word ‘you’ when possible. For example, instead of asking, “Does anyone have any questions about the sales budget’, ask, “Do you have any questions about the sales budget’. The difference is subtle but important. When you ask the first question, people in the meeting think, “He is not speaking to me so I can try and “hide here in the silence.” However, when you ask the second question the thought pattern is, “He is talking to me. What are my questions?” This is the reaction you want.
- Give directions with confidence. If you have ever taught children, you will know that children can smell fear in a teacher, and will exploit it to their advantage. The same is true with adults. Whilst we will generally not play up to the level of children, if the directions you give are weak and ambiguous, people will not follow them with the same conviction as they would if you gave clear and strong directions.
- Get their feedback properly. Feedback is often sought by asking, “Are there any comments or thoughts about the new sales plan?” This is general and consequently vague. Instead, ask, “How can you implement this new sales plan with your current customers?” Once again, this is focused on 1 person, but also on how they will use what they have just learned. They will instantly start thinking of how they will use what they have just learned.
- If you want a quick meeting, remove all the chairs from the meeting room before hand. If people are standing up, they will be less inclined to waste time
How will you use these techniques in your next meeting? Please let me know below.