In meetings today, getting talk time can be a challenge. Often there are levels of seniority and cultures that do not promote just anyone jumping in to speak. So when you speak, you must make sure you make a comment that will have some teeth in it. One that will resonate with the rest of the team and ideally one that will leave them feeling you contributed something of value. After all, you are at the meeting for a reason: what you think and contribute is valued by your colleagues.
I coach my clients to answer the following question: “What does it mean to be a high level communicator?”
Here are the three key aspects:
- The ability to give a 360 degree perspective. Picture yourself looking completely around you, what are you seeing and hearing? Visualize yourself three feet over the group in the room, literally. What comment will you share that shows you see where the momentum of the group is going? For example: “We’re talking about creative ways to offer the team more support. I heard three different ideas that we agree have some real merit.”
- The ability to give an editorial. An editorial refers to a comment that you make based on your experience, perspective, opinion, and recommendation. For example: “From what I’ve observed in meetings with Tom’s and other management teams, I’d recommend we aim for a 30-day transition.”
- The ability to synthesize and integrate what other people are saying. Show you are an active listener by adding a comment that weaves together themes or strands of what individuals may be saying. “Using Catherine’s research on past campaigns and Dylan’s ideas on marketing, we could create a new model that will accomplish our goal to save time while offering more support to the team.”
Adding a comment that shows you have thoughtfully listened and integrated what is being discussed is not too hard to do. However, it takes focus. It takes mindfulness. You must be present in the moment and really pay attention to what each member is contributing.
Try it: Imagine you’re in a meeting next Monday and a topic comes up that you are actively familiar with. How can you increase the quality of your participation?
Be brave! Give it a try and watch the reaction of others when they see you as a person who speaks with confidence.