When I am working with clients who are preparing for an important event or meeting, we often use a tool named “Who Am I?” I first used the tool with a client who was uncertain of how he would present himself at an upcoming conference where he would be meeting people for the first time. Our purpose was to find a way that he could center, build his confidence and handle himself well.
The tool works like this:
• prior to a meeting or event, take time to identify who will be there and how you fit in (set the context)
• identify why you are attending and why you belong there (center yourself)
• take time to lay out what you want to say about yourself when you meet people and what you will say about why you are there (presenting yourself)
• identify any doubts or insecurities you have about the meeting and address them, so you are not caught off guard – in some cases there may not be anything to do about them, but decide how you will handle them – in other cases, chase them away (build confidence)
• identify 3 or more goals that you have for the event or meeting (focus yourself on results)
So often, preparation marks the difference between success and failure. Staying centered and focused goes a long way in building your confidence and reaching your goals.
photo: Salvatore Vuono, FreeDigitaPhotos.net
One of the most significant professional lessons I’ve learned relates to the importance of preparation. In my early career, I would often go to meetings, that did not ask participants for specific preparation, trusting my general knowledge and my ability to respond in the moment. What I began to find, at some meetings, was that others had prepared for the meeting in ways I had not and that gave them an advantage. Their advantage lay in anticipating the interpersonal dynamics of a meeting by giving thought to who was attending, brushing up on the subject matter ahead of time or thinking out their own goals for the meeting and what results they wanted from it.
Preparation puts you in a place of confidence. With preparation you can influence outcomes, avoid unnecessary clashes and shine in front of others. Preparation is well worth the effort – embrace the advantage it gives you.
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In a previous blog post I wrote about the effects of tolerating negative people or situations. Here are ten examples of manager tolerations you are better off without.
1. A team member who is disrupting the flow of your team’s work.
2. A colleague who uses intimidation to get what he or she wants.
3. A messy, unorganized desk.
4. A culture that defines productivity as the number of hours you stay at the office, rather than the results of your work.
5. An unclear mission.
6. Too many unproductive meetings.
7. Compensation way below your contribution.
8. Sloppy performance reviews.
10. Work that has no meaning for you.
What are you tolerating now that you could do without?
photo: scottchan, FreeDigital Photos.net
As a manager, do you face challenges with team members and others who are always late? Many of us do! There is a range of response to this – it is inconsiderate, it is not a big deal, you won’t tolerate it, you are always late yourself. There are also consequences – frustration of those who are on time, time wasted, team disruptions and tension.What can you do about it? Here are a few ideas:
• Make your expectations clear to your team and others that you expect them to be on time. Let them know it is an important performance measure.
• Start team or individual meetings at the scheduled times. If people are late, it is their responsibility to get up to speed. I have found that this practice has immediate results in most cases. People don’t want to miss out.
• Have ways to respond when it is inevitable that you or others are late – for example, have meeting minutes or some other recording method available to all, recap at the end of meetings with action items or ask a team member to bring the person up to speed on what occurred (This should not be the norm, but available when it does happen.)
• Make sure when you ask people to be somewhere, there’s a good reason and you are respectful of their time, never wasting it.
There are enough demands on everyone’s time. Dealing with people who are always late has to go.
photo: Marek Uliasz, Dreamstime.com
1. Take the time to thoroughly prepare and organize any meeting.
2. Get input on the agenda from participants prior to the meeting. Ask for suggestions on efficiencies.
3. Limit meetings to no more than 90 minutes. If more time is needed, schedule a series of meetings.
4. Start on time and state the goal and desired results for the meeting, as you start.
5. Begin the meeting with a 30 second “check in” from each participant to gauge the energy of participants.
6. Follow the timeline on the agenda. If more time is needed on an agenda item, readjust the timeline or table for later discussion.
7. Rotate the “facilitation” of meetings by having one participant track the timing on the agenda.
8. Halfway through the meeting, ask participants for a 30 second statement on how the meeting is going and to constructively and briefly suggest efficiencies. Adjust accordingly.
9. Ten minutes before the scheduled close of the meeting, wrap up and identify action items resulting from the meeting.
10. Send a follow up e mail to all participants after the meeting and thank them.
At The Coaches Training Institute, I was trained in three levels of listening. The first level is hearing someone. The second, listening to them. The third is more a sensing – listening for what is not being said. The instructors would ask us, at certain points in the training, to “listen” to what was going on in the room. This listening involved going underneath surface communication to the emotions present in the room.
Have you ever been at a meeting where, on the surface, everything is going as planned, but the tension in the room is so thick you could cut it with a knife? If you sense that tension, you are listening to what is not being said. Human beings are complex. There are many aspects involved in our individual existences. When you are in the work world, many of these aspects are ignored. These aspects of ourselves do not go away just because we are working. They are kept, consciously or unconsciously, beneath the surface because we do not want to show them. In certain situations however, they can lie no longer and rise in the form of “the energy in the room”. As a manager, it behooves you to pay attention to what is not being said.
You can practice this, if you like. In a meeting or when you are speaking with a member of your team, put some of your attention on what the energy in the room feels like. Get accustomed to this sense. When you sense something awry or evident but not being said, you can call it out to others. It can be as simple as a question – is everything okay? Or you can go further, saying for example, I sense dissatisfaction here. In listening to what is not being said, you get closer to the truth of a situation and can handle whatever is happening in an effective and comprehensive way.