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Are You The Only Person Talking at Meetings?


Are You The Only Person Talking at Meetings?

Have you ever gone into a meeting (either physical or virtual) intending to do a “data dump” – to share as much information with as many people as quickly as possible? Do you ever feel awkward facilitating a meeting because you don’t know how to get participants to interact?

The discomfort of silence convinces you to do all of the talking just to “get it over with.” Without listener interaction, you have no idea what your listeners’ needs are, what questions they have, and if they understand and agree.

Communicating a message that focuses only on you, your objectives and your expectations is not likely to influence others. Your natural response to this situation might be to:

  1. Continue talking without pauses to avoid interruptions, questions or awkward silences;
  2. Talk faster to get through the meeting or call as quickly as possible;
  3. Make the assumption that your listeners are following and understanding your message.

For Influence Monday to Monday®:

  1. Set up the session. At the beginning of the meeting, tell your listeners that you will be moving through the material quickly to honor their time. Then explain that you will ask questions throughout the session to ensure they are receiving the value they expect.
  2. Speak in short, clear and concise sentences. Fewer things are harder to follow than a leader who is vague in defining goals, decisions and direction. Communicating clearly and concisely may seem obvious, but it is far easier said than done.
  3. Pause at key intervals to check for understanding. When you complete a key point, take a “pulse check” by asking, “What questions do you have about . . . ?”
  4. Invite interaction by asking open-ended questions. For example: “What are your thoughts on . . . ?” “What experiences have you had with . . . ?” Then make certain you pause to give listeners time to respond.
  5. Make a connection. Only speak when you see your listeners’ eyes. This will also allow you to continuously read your listeners so you can adapt your message on the fly to meet their expectations.
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