Kill me – it’s another meeting

By Carol Pocklington

Some meetings should never take place!! When the leader of the meeting has no control over them, they are a waste of time.

The most frustrating meetings are when the boss let’s those with the loudest voice have too much time. Even trying to shut them up (politely) just doesn’t work. Then there’s the person in the room whose whole-body language says, ‘I know best; no one else’s opinion matters’. What about the colleague who has plenty to say on the way to the meeting, and just sits there and says nothing in the meeting.

Poorly run Meetings are an expensive waste of time. Here’s a scenario to think about. A little tongue in cheek, but I think you’ll get it!

Howard is compliant, hesitant and diplomatic. He is well liked and respected among most of his team and peers. But when leading staff meetings, Howard fails to control difficult people who upset the balance of the meeting and leave most of the remainder of the team wishing they were somewhere else.

The discussions tend to be unbalanced and very little gets resolved or decide upon.

Phil is the CEO and on one occasion sits in on the team meeting. He senses the atmosphere has no healthy positive energy; it’s heavy and negative; people are frustrated and deflated. Nothing is agreed. Phil knows he needs to work with Howard to improve his leadership skills.

Phil is goal driven, ambitious and yet understands the impact of knowing how to communicate with a range of people. Phil appreciates the importance of getting results through people management and strong strategic leadership.

Using his own experience as example, Phil talks to Howard about how he felt when leaving the meeting. He explained that Howard needed to change the dynamic of the meeting in order to ensure people didn’t leave feeling frustrated, deflated and lacking a sense of direction.

Phil explained to Howard the relevance to his leadership style of understanding behaviors. Further, he talked about the significance of becoming more effective and efficient in terms of managing individual communication styles. He explained that leadership required a person to adapt their own behavioral style to build relationships and meet the performance needs of a specific situation and in this scenario to manage meetings more effectively.

Had Howard understood the dynamics and communication styles in the room and gained insight into his own communication and behavioural approach, he would have known how to manage individuals and control the meeting.

Phil used examples of how he should be communicated with to help Howard understand communication styles. He then contrasted that with how Howard would wish to be communicated with. Very quickly Howard realized that he needed to gain insight into understanding communication styles if his meetings were to be effective in the future.

 Phil

  1. No long stories, keep to the point
  2. Keep meeting agenda short and focused
  3. Prioritize objectives around their goals
  4. Start with the big picture, not too much detail on one part of it
  5. Lay out the options so a decision can be made
  6. Provide bullet points
  7. Clearly outline risk/reward from best- and worst-case scenario
  8. Ask for their thoughts on recommendations
  9. Ask how involved they want you in the planning process
  10. Recognize them with referrals to other influencers

Howard

  1. Allow a short time to discuss family, life and non-work issues upfront
  2. Communicate at a slower pace and do not make them feel pressured – keep it even
  3. Have office meetings in a more living room environment
  4. Show with empathy that you care about their well-being and desire the best outcome for them.
  5. Give them step-by-step instructions to avoid any feelings of chaos.
  6. Provide lower end estimates of returns and keep them diversified
  7. Ask them how much contact they would like with you and what type (email, phone etc.)
  8. Indicate your feelings about the recommendations and get them to discuss theirs

 I, like you, attend many meetings. My 2 biggest frustrations are leaving without decisions being made and not completing items on the agenda due to over-run.

The only sit down meetings we have now are strategic business ones. Staff meetings are each morning 10 minutes only, people can dial into them or be there in person. All that is covered is what your prioroties are for the day and can we help with any blockages. As an aside, we are stationed all over the world and in different time zones. Everyone gets an audio copy of the meeting to keep them informed.

This is my kind of meeting – maybe it’s yours.

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Carol Pockington is a Human Performance Accelerator. She has worked with Hugh Massie since 2001 as the DNA Behavior concept was conceived. She works with people and businesses worldwide. Her real-world application of behavioural insights, gives her the capability to serve as a business strategist, coach, mentor, and trainer. She is also a prolific blogger, a public speaker and author, specializing in human behavioural insights.

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