MIG Scenario for August
With September just around the corner, many of our regular meetings will get into full swing again shortly. Whether these are staff meetings, interdisciplinary committee meetings, or special project meetings, they can come with their own set of frustrations and challenges.
Here are some tips from Catherine Bell of Prime Impressions (a company she created in 1994 for individuals and businesses to address workplace protocol and appearance issues that impact their success). Here she outlines some keys to REVIVE a meeting:
Meetings become deadly when discussions go on and on without anything being accomplished. As a participant, you can try several strategies to REVIVE a meeting, especially if the Chair isn't focused on moving things along.
The most important factor is to display a positive, supportive attitude when endeavouring to turn the situation around. The next time you are in a meeting that is going nowhere, try some of these tactics: <?xml:namespace prefix = o />
Refocus: You see that people are not concentrating on the problem at hand. Instead of saying, "What the heck are you talking about? You're off topic. Smarten up!" bring things back on track with: "That is a very interesting point of view on 'X;' however, our goal is to work out some temporary solutions to 'Y.' May I propose an idea that I have that could result in a viable solution?"
Explain: Sometimes participants do not understand your point of view. A poor strategy is to say: "You just don't get the picture - are you stupid? What I'm really saying is..." Instead try: "I don't think that I've explained myself very well. To clarify, let me illustrate my line of reasoning with a different example."
Viewpoint: Everyone in the meeting will have a unique perspective and it is important not to put down their ideas. Instead of coming out with, "I can't believe that you've wasted our time with that proposition!" try: "Your position is valid; however, I would like to highlight some other factors in this matter so that we can have all the options on the table."
Identify: Sometimes individuals will come to a meeting with their own agendas and may not consider the global picture. Instead of saying, "That is such a narrow point of view. Let's look at the bigger picture," you could identify with them and move forward with: "I can see why you would suggest that, because it would have serious implications for your department. Could we examine some ideas that I have that will still leave your staff intact, and at the same time will be supported over the next five years, even in this current economic climate?"
Validate: You may need to go over a point more than once to emphasize the urgency of a matter. Avoid saying, "How many times do I have to tell you! What is important is..." A better strategy that keeps communication flowing could start with: "This is a significant issue and I realize that there is some confusion here. Let me review the requirements necessary to exercise due diligence in this process, and give you the reasons for each step."
End: The last technique that can help move a meeting along is to suggest that you need to leave soon. Of course, this strategy will depend upon whether you have the autonomy to act on your words. Instead of saying, "Well, if you can't start to agree on something, I'm out of here!" try: "We've covered the first two items on our agenda. If you need me for the last one that involves a project where I'm the lead, would you like my comments now? In 15 minutes, I have to leave for another meeting that I'm unable to reschedule."
What is your biggest challenge in meetings? Have you ever been stuck in a meeting that is seemingly "going nowhere" and not known what to do? Any tips to add to this list?