We spend a lot of time in meetings. Not just scheduled meetings, but encounters – drop ins, hallway conversations, even e-mail exchanges. While these moments themselves become commonplace due to quantity, we cannot underestimate their impact on our work.
This month, I was part of some extremely productive meetings. I realize that statement itself sounds like an oxymoron, but I speak the truth. Each meeting had the potential to become contentious. I recognized the rarity of each of these situations and found myself tuned in to the dynamics of the encounter. Thus, I present 3 steps to winning a meeting:
- Listen – This advice applies in so many situations. Many misunderstandings and challenges could have easily been avoided, if we focused more on listening to those around us. Remember to listen for the thoughts and ideas being shared and not just the silence for you to insert your opinion.
- Look for non-verbals – I have found this particularly important as a leader, as occasionally people are hesitant to say exactly what they are thinking. Learning these behaviors stems from building relationships with your colleagues. However, common indicators your counterpart has checked out of the conversation are: crossed arms, moving away from the table, or angling their shoulders away from you. To re-engage, ask, “What are you thinking?” Then refer to #1 in this list.
- Check your ego – Nothing takes a meeting south faster than a power struggle. Often we feel like we have just one thing to get off our chest or a particular point we want to drive home. If this point or comment is rooted in the past, leave it there. Dredging up old misunderstandings is counterproductive. Keep focused on moving forward. As educators our common barometer is the question, “What is in the best interest of students.”
Have you ever walked out of a meeting and thought (or said), “That was a win!”? I have thought a lot about that concept recently. If I won, what does that mean for the other participants? Does that mean they lost? In a successful meeting, everyone walks away feeling like a winner.
How do you know if a meeting is effective?
Love this addition from a member of my #PLN: @DEC_Consulting: @MurphysMusings5 Great Advice! I’d add have a plan and make sure the plan supports the need(s).