Nuances of where and how to sit in the meeting room
Sit where you will have good eye contact with the chair person. Don’t be seen as an upstart by snatching the chair directly opposite, but a seat or two down on other side would still get you seen, ready to have your comments listened to.
How to get your ideas across during brainstorms
What should happen is a facilitator gets everyone making comments, but sometimes it can be a bit of a ‘free for all’ so look alive and alert and seek to make eye contact. Sometimes we aren’t sure if an idea will work or not, brainstorming should be about all ideas, with nothing censored, but you can always preface a suggestion with ‘not sure if this is totally what we are looking for but we could consider …’
Giving better presentations
DO NOT be led by PowerPoint. Only use the slides as your crib and read them out if you want to switch people off and fail to get people involved. Create impact! start with something that captures their attention, if you start saying my name is XXX and today I am going to talk about …. you’ve lost them before you start.
Handling difficult negotiations
There are many different ways to negotiate so it is choosing the most appropriate style. Sometimes it works best to collaborate, at other times to be more competitive. Helps to understand what your preferred negotiating style is, and to develop at least one alternative (You can do this via an assessment such as the Thomas Kilmann). Always listen, you need to understand the other persons views and look for ways you are willing to compromise, it can be worth compromising in small areas to achieve a bigger objective.
Don’t wait till the meeting to seek to achieve your objective. it’s best to sound out people in advance, discuss your plans, get their feedback and if you work well your objective can be almost met before the meeting starts.
How to disagree with someone and survive when you’re outnumbered
Focus on the facts, don’t get too personal. Speak from your perspective rather than be general. For example ‘I understand that you feel XXX however I’d like us to discuss an alternative perspective. What we could do is XXX’
Any body language tips or subtle tricks
There are lots of ways to develop rapport and good eye contact, but not staring at people and subtle mirroring of body language can help. Outside of a meeting can be a good place to start to get to know someone as people work best with people they like.
How to wrap up and leave a good impression
Summarise what has been agreed, say what you will do and when. Then make sure that you deliver! Aim to deal with your action points promptly.
Thank people for their comments, and use their name, people like to be remembered.
To have an effective meeting
Have an agenda which is circulated in advance, along with any pre reading and time to read it. This gives the more Introverted people time to think through what they want to say.
Include a desired outcome for each agenda item, this keeps the session focused
Put timings on the agenda, so discussions don’t drift
Not everyone is outgoing so look to bring the quieter members into the discussion
If someone is only needed for one agenda item, just invite them for that. Not everyone needs to give up e.g. half a day
The minutes should be concise and distributed as soon as possible after the end of the meeting. There is no reason why someone can’t be typing them up during the meeting, checked by the chair at the end and then get them circulated within the hour
Check if a face to face meeting is really necessary, could it be done as effectively via a group phone call?
Review at the end of the meeting, what went well, how could we improve.
Denise Taylor, award winning career coach with Amazing People and author of How to Get a Job in a Recession