"You've got to coach people how to be good meeting participants, and I'd start with communication skills. There are 10 interpersonal skills I'd focus on. I'm going to quickly summarize what they are and give an example of each.
The first three skills are the ability to propose new ideas, seek information, and clarify information. Those interpersonal behaviors define what good meetings sound like.
- Now, how do you propose a new idea? It might sound like this, "I have a recommendation and I'd like to get the group's thoughts on it."
- When you seek information, that may sound like this, "I have a question that I was hoping someone could help me with."
- And when you clarify information, try this, "Can you explain that to me again, I want to make sure I understand," or, "Help me understand."
The next four interpersonal skills: build on ideas, offer input, and agree.
- When you build on ideas, it may sound like this, "I like that. What if we also tried this?"
- When you're going to offer input, it may sound like this, "Have you thought about this yet?"
- When you're agreeing, be clear. It sounds like this, "I have nothing to add. I think you're spot on."
The final four skills. You want to introduce new ideas, disagree, receive or respond to negative feedback, and summarize.
- When you introduce an idea, try this, "I have a thought. What if we."
- When you disagree, try this, "I appreciate your perspective, but I see this a little differently," or, "I have a different point of view and I'd like to share it."
- When you receive negative feedback, it sounds like this, "I appreciate that. Thank you. Let me put some thought to that and I'll loop back to you."
- And when you summarize what you've heard, it sounds like this, "Can I play that back? Can I play back what I just heard?"
I would coach these skills in a team meeting. You share the skill in an example, just like I did, then have your team share other examples. It's a fun exercise and a good team-building activity.
When you do this, you're coaching to a standard. You're specifying what good communication skills sound like and how you want your meetings to be run.
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