Everyday Meeting Series #2: Adding Leadership Skills Training to Everyday Meetings
If your meetings are already going pretty well (see the previous post on Adding Facilitation to Improve Everyday Meetings), you can focus on raising your bench…adding training practice to your everyday meetings to help your colleagues (and yourself) attain new skills and better business results.
Let’s start with identifying a couple of common issues, and sharing a related skill your attendees can practice to help resolve these issues.
Issues (set #1):
People jump in with their ideas as soon as the last person finishes talking, or they don’t even wait until the last person is finished talking; they are not listening to the current speaker–because they are waiting to talk.
Attendees tune out until it’s their time to talk. Someone actively needs to call on the next person to present because they are obviously doing something else.
People are unknowingly repeating another’s idea as their own idea. They likely heard it partially while they were tuned out and thought “I have a great idea!”
All of these behaviors are signs that people are failing to practice active listening.
Meeting Skill Practice: Active Listening
As pre-work, ask your meeting participants to watch this video or choose another quick video that explains Active Listening in less than 2 minutes. There are several on YouTube. Choose the one that best suits your organization’s or team’s culture.
Watch the video again together in the meeting as a refresher after you’ve read the meeting Purpose. (See previous post for suggestions on Purpose format).
Then, give everyone a chance to practice the skill of active listening immediately. As you proceed with the meeting, ask every person to listen actively when one person is speaking or presenting. Each time a person speaks or presents, ask someone else from the team to paraphrase then check for understanding.
You can choose the person to paraphrase based on previous meeting bad behavior. Or you can use a simple round robin, giving everyone a turn. Or, choose the next presenter, so they get used to actively listening even as they’re preparing to present. Or perhaps choose in the moment, based on the person who you think might not have been listening but who needs to understand.
This exercise will not only improve communication and engagement, but often also improves system understanding, including understanding of why decisions are made. While it may seem to take a couple of minutes away from the meeting, it almost always saves time later as team members more deeply understand each other’s work and opinions.
In this blog series, we’ll continue to explore leadership training and practice we can add to everyday meetings. Send your requests to email@example.com.