April 5, 2008

Any Questions?

Ready to talk?
How to Make it Happen in 2008
I recently attended a management team meeting which had about 100 participants on the phone and around 25 participants in person. The meeting leader used the first part of the meeting to communicate key management objectives, challenges and execution approach.

The second half of the meeting was meant for active discussion and Q&A. The floor was opened for discussion. Tick, tick, tick … No questions – nothing but an awkward silence. A few feeble attempts to coax out a question were unsuccessful. Everyone seemed eager to be done!

When a team meeting (like the one above) evokes no dialogue or exchange – is it indicator of deeper problems? Probably yes!

Presenters in conferences are expected to conduct a one-way information exchange. Team discussion meetings are meant to be forums to discuss relevant topics amongst the group. Teams debate, discuss, raise concerns, comment, commend and most importantly participate. Active participation indicates trust and engagement – important team attributes needed to work and produce as a group.

Are your team members intimidated by you? Are they interested in the topics of discussion? Do they feel part of the team? Is your team empowered and eager to get the job done?

Lack of participation also points towards lack of engagement. If you team does not believe in what you are proposing or are just plain and simple disengaged – this is what you will get in a meeting. When you are not into it – you are probably showing up because you are supposed to not because you want to. A disengaged team will usually meander around looking for direction and leadership.

Do you have a mismatch of participants in your team? Participants who don’t know their role or expectations in a meeting can be a problem. Participants in meetings need to be educated about their role and their contribution expectations. ‘Mix and match’ is possible but highly contingent on the meeting objective and outcome. Like minded resources who are involved in a common problem will be more apt to contribute in a meeting and make the discussions productive.

Lack of participation in a meeting that merits active participation is a symptom of bigger problems. Address the root causes to set the stage for a productive and eventful discussion meeting.

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