Leadership Update is a free monthly newsletter by David A. Weiman, Psy.D. and www.leadershipfirst.com. In it, you’ll find strategies for helping you realize your full professional potential. Please feel free to forward unedited copies of this newsletter.
- Quotable: The Pundits Speak
- Leadership: 5 Tips for Managing Meetings
- Communication: Get More Data to the Top
- Readers’ Forum: Your Observations
- Subscription Information
Quotable: The Pundits Speak
“Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.” – Groucho Marx
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie
5 TIPS FOR MANAGING MEETINGS
Meetings are a critical (and often criticized) aspect of executive life. And running meetings is a lot like driving: Most people think they do it well, and that everyone else needs lessons. The truth is that conducting effective and successful meetings takes practice. This issue of Leadership Update will present 5 basic tips for effective meeting management, and the next issue will focus on special topics in meeting management, handling different personalities and managing conflict.
Here are the 5 basic tips:
1. Prepare in advance.
Effective preparation is essential for an effective meeting. Make sure that the purpose, participants, actions and anticipated outcome are all planned in advance. Distribute agendas in advance so that participants can be prepared to contribute. Purposes for each meeting should be clearly communicated. Whether the meeting is to provide information, introduce a client, review a process or handle a problem, participants should know well in advance what is expected at the meeting. Avoid introducing a problem and trying to solve it in the same meeting.
2. Start meetings on time.
Do not wait for late participants (other than clients), and do not repeat material that late arrivers missed. Accommodating lateness reinforces it. If someone is chronically late, do not mention it when they come into the meeting (as much as you may want to), meet with them privately about it. Chronic lateness is usually a problem that goes beyond meeting attendance, and should be addressed as quickly and effectively as possible.
3. Establish and maintain eye contact throughout the meeting.
Signaling your alertness by looking at as many individuals as possible keeps them engaged and makes each person feel important. If someone is asking a very specific question, focus your attention on that person. If the question is of general interest, look around at others in the room
4. Use appropriate body language.
It can communicate more than the words you’re speaking. Maintain comfortable but correct posture whether standing or sitting. Don’t rock or pace back and forth. Ask a trusted colleague to observe you in a meeting and give you feedback. Quite often, we enact behaviors (such as checking a watch, or looking out a window) that we’re not consciously aware of, but which communicate irritation, boredom or other things we don’t mean to. Getting feedback about your in-meeting body language can be extremely valuable.
5. Summarize with “internal” summaries during the meeting.
This is particularly appropriate after a long discussion, or before a break. State what the current status is of the discussion, and/or what still needs to be done. End all meetings with a brief review of the issues. If there is more to be discussed, make sure participants know how you will follow up. Even if means another meeting.
If you have specific comments about meetings at your organization, please e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT DR. WEIMAN
David A. Weiman, Psy.D. is a psychologist who specializes in executive development. For information or a consultation, please call 610/642-3040.
333 East Lancaster Avenue, Suite 202
Wynnewood, PA 19096-1929
(610) 642-3040; Fax (610) 642-3041
COMMUNICATION: GET MORE DATA TO THE TOP
A recent survey in USA Today revealed that executives tend to think that staff get their information within an organization from official sources, such as memos or meetings. But staff members report that they get most of their information from informal sources, such as gossip or “water cooler” conversations.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for corporate executives to be surprised to learn about something that has been “on the street” in the lower levels of the company hierarchy, but which never made it up the grapevine to senior management. This phenomenon is so prevalent, in fact, that on the BBC hit series “Back to the Floor,” CEOs of major corporations spent time working with the line staff to learn what life is like on the front lines, and correct any problems they found there. For example, Bob Dickinson, of Carnival Cruises, was surprised to learn from the cleaning staff (while helping them clean cabin rooms) that they had to clean all assigned rooms before going for a meal break, which often meant missing meals because they finished cleaning after the meal service had ended. After discovering this fact (and many more), Dickinson was able to take immediate corrective actions that not only improve life for the staff but for the customers as well.
The “divide” between line staff and senior executives is usually a layer of managers who prevent (consciously or not) vital information from reaching the highest levels of the corporation. That is why it’s essential for corporate leaders to assertively seek contact with employees at all levels of the corporation to find out what’s really going on. Some senior executives avoid doing so because they’re concerned with how it might make them appear. If Bob Dickinson’s experiences are any indication, it will make them appear as more concerned, involved and effective leaders.
Reader’s Forum: Your Observations
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