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How to have good meetings as a meeting attendee

Special guest article from Malcolm Taylor of Your Excellency

Malcolm Taylor of Your Excellency

As follow up to my previous blog post on what makes a good meeting from the perspective of a meeting organiser, I offer you some thoughts  as a meeting attendee.

How often do you feel the need to avoid a meeting or set yourself up that “this will be a waste of time!” or “I have more useful things to do than this!” 

I Have more useful things to do than attend this meeting!

Here are some thoughts as to how to make the very best use of a meeting.

Before you go to the meeting:

  • Think about - When the meeting is finished what do you want to have achieved? If you could take away just one or two really useful things what would they be?
  • To do this, imagine the meeting is ending – fast forward and mentally go to that time and imagine….
    •  What do you see yourself doing?
    •  What do you see others doing?
    •  What are you saying to yourself and others?
    •  What are they saying to you and each other?
    •  How are you feeling about the meeting?
  • This is called a sensory representation and by doing this we know what success looks (and sounds and feels) like. 
  • Always have an outcome for whatever you do and state it as “my outcome is….”  This is called towards  thinking.

Use "towards thinking"

  • If you talk about what you don’t want, your mind will automatically create a representation of exactly what it is you don’t want and your energy and thoughts will move towards it. E.g. “Don’t think of a pink elephant”  tricky huh? This is called “away from thinking” and is counter productive.
  • Before you enter the meeting room think what internal resources you need to have in order to meet your outcome. Do I need to be Calm? Attentive? Focused? Prepared? Relaxed? Open minded? – You chose and turn on the appropriate switches.

During the meeting:

  • Learn to turn down your “judging” behaviour and turn up your “curiosity” behaviour
  • Ask questions to find out more – either directly or in your mind
  • Instead of thinking “that’s wrong” or “I don’t agree with that” change your thinking to “that’s interesting, I wonder what makes them think that?” or “Now I know they think like that how can I use that to my advantage?”
  • The magic question is not “why?” but “what’s important about….”

The magic question is "What's important about..."

  • Learn to notice what you notice – look and listen as you will find out something that might be very useful now or later in being able to influence. While you are judging you are listening to yourself and missing vital information around you!

Use your time wisely as “the person with the most flexibility in thought and behaviour has the most influence over any situation!” 

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Malcolm Taylor

The Performance Coach

Note from Bill Burgar (creator of MeetingGold): Malcolm's work is highly recommended. I've had the pleasure of working with him on numerous occasions - always with great outcomes. You can find out more on his website www.yourexcellency.co.uk

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Reader Comments (2)

In all honesty, meetings are a waste of time. They normally comprise of a few people wanting to throw their weight, but it's usually non productive. I prefer to gather people around at the time a problem needs to be solved and get on with it there and then.

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March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaney

Thanks Janey, you say you like to gather people around when there is a problem. That's a meeting. You don't find that unproductive. So it's not all meetings you don't think are productive. Maybe on the meetings you don't like you are not getting the full picture?

March 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterBill Burgar

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