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How to Arrive at a Meeting

Here's one short leadership coaching tip you can action on tomorrow. Today's post takes about 3 minutes to read. It is all about how conducting and being part of effective meetings is a crucial leadership skill.

The Tip

Have you noticed people have a habit of saying "I'm an introvert" or "I'm an extrovert"? It's one of the many ways that we label ourselves.

Truth it, it is healthier (and more accurate) to say something like, "I'm being introverted" or "I'm feeling extroverted". Because nobody is one or the other 100% of the time.

That works with all sorts of other labels too by the way. You can have that tip for free 🤗

But one thing that can make the best of us feel introverted is meetings. When we walk in the room, we carry our day's baggage with us, assess our relative status and settle into a behaviour pattern before we've even sat down.

If we feel low-status, tired, or distracted, we're unlikely to contribute much.

Which makes the whole meeting a total waste of time, right?

If you recognise this, there is a very simple hack that can counteract it. All you have to do is ... speak.

Make a conscious choice to say something in the first few moments of every meeting. Once you've done that, you'll be amazed how much easier it is to keep talking.

You won't feel introverted again.

How it Works

I help myself to remember this by reminding myself that:

You haven't arrived in a meeting until you have spoken

And what is a meeting? Is it the artefacts? The agendas, the PowerPoints, the papers or the Post-Its? No, a meeting is a coming together of people to share ideas and to find to some consensus.

The simple act of saying something makes you a part of the meeting. If you stay feeling introverted you might never say anything at all, which means you are in the room but not in the meeting.

And it really doesn't matter what you say. If you are nervous, something as simple as "shall I shut the door?" would work.

Saying something nice about someone in the room works even better.

And if you want pro points try saying something like "I'm really looking forward to this today." That way you create an expectation for a constructive meeting. One in which you are setting the tone.

Well done 👏.

If You Are Coaching Someone

Most of the people I am coaching lead teams. They are also the sorts of people who call and chair meetings.

So I ask them to reflect on what they want from people in the room. And the truth is, they want them to participate.

One brilliant way of making sure everyone arrives in the room (and then participates) is to use a "check-in" round right at the start of the meeting.

What you do is take turns to answer a question that anyone can answer like, "what's the last place you went to for the first time?" or "what was your favourite meal growing up?"

Here is a great question generator you can use.

The magic of this approach is that everyone can answer these questions with enthusiasm and the answers make everyone listen.

And, once the check-in round is over, everyone has arrived in the room.

Even those who are introverts (oops 🤦‍♂) the people feeling introverted 👍.

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