A typical work meeting usually requires the leader to do most of the work.
This person would start off the meeting, announcing the topics to be discussed, and then proceed to discuss various points.
It is very common to see bored and distracted faces around the conference room, and almost impossible to get any participation going.
If this sounds like meetings you experience, there is something you can do to change all that.
While it may sound strange at first, consider talking last at a meeting. Instead of taking all the responsibility upon yourself to divulge information and control communication flow, try to sit back and listen instead.
There are various benefits to this tactic, such as:
Increased Employee Participation
When a manager does all the talking, and simply askings for questions and comments after the fact, that doesn’t require anyone else to contribute because all the pertinent information has been discussed.
If the leader simply stays quiet, it will force the subordinates to participate.
They will be required to discuss amongst themselves pressing issues, ask each other questions, and bring up concerns.
This will not only make the meeting much more lively for all involved, it will increase communication and collaboration between team members.
It will also help everyone to play an active role in the meeting, instead of a passive one, helping to improve concentration and involvement.
When the manager makes it clear that he or she will remain quiet until the very end of the meeting, speaking little before that, it will empower the other staff members to play active roles in the meeting.
Instead of turning to the boss for questions, they will need to work themselves to figure out concerns and address problems.
This will require employees to turn to each other, thereby learning to work together and trust each other to get their tasks done.
This attitude will then transfer out of the meeting room into the cubicles and offices in your organisation, empowering your workers to work more independently, and, if necessary, turn to their colleagues first before to you.
When leaders do all the talking at a meeting, they leave the room without knowing if the staff understood anything, or were left uninformed.
When managers wait to speak, allowing employees to speak first, they will be able to have better oversight of the team, as they will hear for themselves what the employees know and where the manager should step in to correct or improve information flow.
While speaking last at a meeting may seem unnatural, it is actually a good strategy to allow employees to lead the meeting and not wait to be provided the necessary information.
This tactic is beneficial for the leader as well as the other team members.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 24 February, 2016
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