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When You Must Deal With a Liar, Here’s What You Do

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment: we all lie. The average person will tell at least one or two lies every day. There are no exceptions to this rule, but there are some people who tend to lie more often. People who are in a position of negotiation will lie half of the time if they have a motive or opportunity to do so.

But it doesn’t take a negotiation to encourage a lie. It’s done so that the upper hand can be obtained. I know it feels great to hit someone with a zinger they don’t expect, even if it is a lie. Afterward, however, the lie doesn’t feel so good. Because of this feeling of regret, the assumption is made that everyone has that feeling.

They do not. So instead of trying to get better about finding out what is a lie, I’ve decided to work with liars on a different level. Here’s what I do.

#1. Encourage sharing. People want to feel like they’re equal to one another. That’s why when someone shares a secret, others also want to share their own secret as well. That sharing process helps to level the playing field. I encourage sharing by offering specific and unanticipated information to the other person or party. This creates a transparent response and reduces the likelihood of a devastating lie coming up later on.

 

#2. Ask good questions. I consider myself a pretty honest person. I’m not going to go out of my way to lie. I’m also not going to go out of my way to divulge information to someone who may not need it. A lie by omission is still a lie, no matter how we might try to justify it. In order to get the complete story, I’ve found that pessimistic questions tend to elicit a more honest response. Many people find it difficult to negate a true statement that is offered in the form of the question.

 

#3. Listen for an answer. Ever notice how a politician will receive a question about their thoughts on taxes and wind up discussing something about foreign policy instead? Dodging a question is a skill that some have become experts at doing during a conversation. This is a tough lie to detect because many listeners don’t notice a dodged question. Instead of being impressed by an eloquent sidestep, listen for an actual answer to your question. If you don’t get one, then do what I do – ask the question again.

 

#4. Stay away from privacy concerns. It’s important to have privacy, but I’ve found that discussing confidentiality issues can actually cause people to lie more. This is because people become suspicious if all you’re doing is talking about privacy concerns. If you offer a large amount of protection, people are more likely to lie. If you offer no confidentiality, people are also more likely to lie. So if you need to mention privacy issues, do so briefly, but then just move on with your conversation.

 

#5. Inspect for leaks. The truth we need will often come out in other ways when dealing with a professional liar. We can detect information from the questions they ask, their body language, and even in a joke here or there. When a leak is detected, a savvy liar might have done that on purpose to throw you off. I’ve found that leaks tend to be genuine and honest because they are often mindless.

 

Dealing with a liar is never fun. This is why I’ve worked to remove as much lying as possible from my life. Yet sometimes there is a need to be involved with a liar in a conversation, a business deal, or in some other way. These are my methods – what are yours? I’d love to hear how you confront lying when you discover it.

5 Reasons To Consider Recovery Instead of Endurance

Busy. We’re all pretty busy these days.

Sometimes it feels like the work never ends. You’ve got to earn a paycheck. Then you’ve got to get the dishes and laundry done at home. By the time you crawl into bed, you’re feeling almost sub-human. The alarm goes off sooner than it should in the morning and each tomorrow becomes a repeat of each day before.

I know it’s so easy to think these repetitive days need to be endured, like running a first marathon. Except the secret to success is really in how you can recover instead of how long you can stay on your feet.

Here are some reasons why it might be wise to consider slowing down to concentrate on recovery.

#1. You are multitasking more than you realize. Each time you switch tasks, you’re consuming energy that your body needs. Something as simple as checking your phone while “taking a break” is you not taking a break. I recommend using resources that can let you track how many times you log into your phone during the day [or check Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram] to see just how busy you are during your down times.

 

#2. Staying active doesn’t give your mind a break. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing you can do. It gives your mind a vacation from the responsibilities you’ve got going on during the day. I’ve found that after a period of “nothingness,” I start to getting the itch to do something. That’s my cue to know that it’s time to get started on something new.

 

#3. We are all connected to each other. Humans may be social creatures, but there is also value in spending some time on your own. Being around other people also means bearing their burdens. How many times have you listened to a co-worker vent about their home life? Or had an employee complain about their boss to you? Or read some random venting status update on social media? I’ve found that even unplugging for just 90 minutes can provide the right amount of relief.

 

#4. Work and home are blended like never before. How many times do you check your work email at home? Or take work calls when you’re spending time with your family? Personal and professional lives are blended like never before, which to the mind means you’re always on the clock. I have countered this issue by creating work-free zones within my home. If I’m there, then work is not, and that has helped to prevent high levels of mental exhaustion.

 

#5. Learn to let things go. In this political season, it’s pretty easy to adopt an us vs. them philosophy. The same could be said in other areas of life, like religion, socioeconomic status, online forums, and in our discussions we have with one another every day. I’ve found it is better to let things go, even if I disagree. If I’m getting riled up because I’m frustrated with someone else, then I’m not getting the chance to recover that I need.

 

Every day may be a marathon in some way, but that doesn’t mean we need to go 100% all the time to finish that race. Sometimes being able to take a break to recover can give us the right amount of rest that we need.

 

How do you recover after a tough day? I’d love to hear how you give yourself a chance to recover.

5 Ways You Know It’s the Job That’s the Problem and Not You

Fantasizing about a new job is more common than many might think. I know I’ve been sitting at my desk in the past, dreaming about what it would be like to work anywhere else at that moment. The idea of something new is enticing, but sometimes it isn’t you or me that is the problem.

Sometimes it is the job that is problematic.

If you are not feeling satisfied at your job and are thinking about sending out resumes, then here are 5 ways you can know that it’s the job that is the problem and not you.

#1. You haven’t been learning anything. People are at their happiest when they are able to see progression in their lives. You might not be able to reach a goal, but if you can see progress being made, you can keep pressing forward. When there isn’t progression, there is dissatisfaction. I feel particularly satisfied when I can embrace my creativity and curiosity. If your key traits aren’t being encouraged to develop, then it might be time for a career switch.

 

#2. You aren’t performing like you did in the past. At some point, I think we all enter a phase of being on “autopilot.” We begin to cruise along because we’re tired, burnt out maybe, and the job is easy enough that you don’t need to dedicate mental resources to get it done. If you’re not engaged at work and your performance is lacking because of it, then take a break. If that doesn’t help, then trust me – it’s time to find a new job.

 

#3. You aren’t feeling valuable. I’m not saying that you need to have a smile on your face at all times and have happy happy joy joy feelings all over the place. You should feel like you’re a valuable part of your time. When you doing something great, people should at least say “Thank you.” That’s not too much to ask, right? When people feel undervalued, they are more likely to burn out. They’re also more likely to start taking more sick days, consider stealing office supplies, or play games on Facebook while on the clock. You are valuable. Find another place to work.

 

#4. You just want a paycheck. It always amazes me at the mental fortitude people have, being stuck in a terrible job, but staying there because they need the money. This kind of job is the least rewarding at all. It causes people to dread waking up in the morning. If you aren’t excited about your job in some way, then it’s time to find something new when you can find something with comparable pay.

 

#5. You hate your supervisor. Most people, at least in my experience, tend to quit managers and supervisors instead of jobs. Leaders must be willing to develop their teams and be supportive, stepping in only when a situation escalates. Far too many supervisors refuse to delegate and stretch themselves too thinly, resulting in conflict, lower expectations, and high turnover rates.

 

Now I’m not saying that going to work is supposed to be a blissful experience… but it should be a satisfying one. If you’re not feeling satisfied, but you can remember the times when you did feel that way, then there’s a good chance it’s the job that has changed instead of you. Get out of there if you can and find something that is fulfilling because life is too short to settle for something mediocre.

 

Have you quit a bad job in the past? What signs helped you recognize it was time to go? I’d love to hear some of your thoughts about dealing with circumstances like these if you have a moment or two to share them here.  

Confidence: How To Fake It Until You Make It

 

I’m not confident 100% of the time.

It’s tough to admit sometimes, but it is true. There are times when I’m not sure that I’m making the right decision. I’m often my own worst critic, second- and third-guessing myself to the point where I feel like the best decision might be to not make a decision.

Or there are those times when I’m given a job I’m not sure I know how to do, but I don’t want to give up the opportunity because I’m unsure of when the next one might come around.

The simple fact is that every person on this planet feels this way at some point in their lives. When this feeling occurs, a crossroads decision must occur. The choice is simple: fake the confidence until you’re actually confident… or give up and start over from Square One.

Let’s choose the “fake it until you make it” method. It works for me and I’m confident [see what I did there?] that it will work for you.

#1. Look at the opportunity. Being nervous is natural and this tends to be the source of uncertainty. Any time I do something new, I feel nervous. Instead of butterflies in the stomach, I’m pretty sure there are stingrays swimming around in there. Yet the more I look at the opportunity I’ve been given, the more I realize that this is a challenge I can embrace instead of a worry that requires anxiety medication.

 

#2. Take it one step at a time. I used to think that I had to make a huge positive first impression in order to be remembered. Now I’ve come to realize that getting the job done, step by step, is more important than becoming “famous” because I knocked one out of the park on Day One. Or as one of my favorite movies would say, “… Baby step onto the elevator…. Baby step to four o’clock.”

 

#3. Learn by osmosis. Sometimes I’ve found you need to go out and find a mentor that knows what needs to get done. There’s no need to form a relationship with that person either. If I just watch the person doing the job that I need to do, then I can absorb that information and repeat it when it’s my time to show-off. Ask questions if there’s something confusing. Just make sure there is more than one person being observed – it’s no good to cheat off of the person who isn’t doing the job right.

 

#4. Be bold. Nearly 90% of our communication to one another comes from non-verbal sources. This means if you can be confident in your body language, any uncertain words will still drip with soothing confidence. Sit up straight. Try to avoid crossing the arms. Keep your head held high. When I act like I’m self-assured, I become less guarded, feel more optimistic, and that often creates the results I was unsure I’d be able to create.

 

#5. Watch out for the red flags. I know sometimes we’re all asked to step so far outside the box, it feels like a passport should be required to complete the journey. Being creative should not create circumstances for failure. If I get nervous about trying to fake my confidence, then that’s a red flag telling me I should do something else. There’s no need to make the situation worse by creating a negative spiral of emotions that really will take me out of the job I’m trying to do.

 

Confidence can come naturally, but sometimes it needs a little courage to become part of the daily routine. These methods have helped create the foundation for future confidence… how have you built up your confidence in circumstances that were uncertain? I’d love to have you share your story with me.

Stay Focused On High Value Work

 

Remember those days before 2007 when you could find a new job if you wanted one? Yeah. Those days are over. I’ve seen people not receive a raise since 2008. People are stuck in jobs, doing the work of 2-3 people, but can’t afford to quit because they’re living paycheck to paycheck. Forget asking about how people do with multitasking – interviewers should be asking how well people work when they’re feeling overwhelmed!

To be as productive as possible, I’ve found it is necessary to stay focused on your high value work at all times. This way you can stay as productive as possible. Although there are times when you’ll have to do the low value work [because all work needs to be done], there are times when you can actively separate the two.

The Best Time? When You Start a New Job

When you first get into a new position, you’re seeing things with fresh eyes. This lets you be able to separate the low value work away from the high value work. Take a moment to look at everything, then propose goals to your new boss to see how many useless things can be removed.

I have a friend who started a position as a clinical manager a few years ago. On the first day of his new job, his boss was explaining how they input clinical notes. There were four levels of bureaucracy required just for one person to enter one note. So he asked a question: “Why can’t the people who create the note just write it themselves on their own?”

And that one question saved $100,000 in labor costs. That’s the power of limiting low value work.

Make Changes When You Get More Responsibility

When you receive a promotion, it’s the perfect time to look at the structure of that management position. Think about every task which is being asked to be completed in a critical way. Should you be the one in charge of doing these things? Can they be delegated? Is there a third option available to you?

I would also include the times of reorganization in with this category. You know – the “changes” which occur that have the executive team saying things like, “It’s time to get lean and mean.” This transitory time shifts responsibilities from worker to worker, which means you’ve got the chance to propose cutting low value work.

Great Success Means Great Rewards

Sometimes the best way to get rid of the low value work is to knock an idea out of the park with your high value work. When you have great success come your way, then you have the perfect opportunity to ask for something. Instead of an extra sick day or a boost in pay [both important, by the way], maybe consider asking for some of the low value busy work to be removed from your plate. Making life easier at work doesn’t add dollars to your paycheck, but it does reduce stress from your life.

There are a number of ways you can make sure you’re spending more time on your high value work. You can automate your low value tasks as much as possible. Delegation may be possible. You can be like me and just create your own rules to avoid doing that low value work. If it has to be done, then block of a specific segment of time on your calendar each week to do nothing but low value work – and only do it during that period of time.

Staying focused on high value work will make you more productive from an overall standpoint. It’s your job, so design a plan of action to make it work for you. How do you stay focused on high value tasks? I’d love to hear some of your ideas that help to keep you productive 

Do You Talk Like Way Too Much?

Open communication is important. Too much communication, however, can make people feel uncomfortable. In the instances where I find myself talking more and listening less, I’ve noticed that people tend to squirm as I’m talking. They start looking at their watches. The point is clear: it’s time for me to shut my mouth.

It can be hard to tell if you’re talking too much. If you pay attention to the other people in the conversation, there are some hints that can let you know that your words aren’t being heard any more.

#1. The other person has stopped responding to you.

People talk more in non-verbal communication than they do in real words. Someone might be saying “Yeah” or “Great point” when you come to a conclusion, but that doesn’t mean they are listening. If their arms are crossed defensively, they’re looking away from you, or their facial expression is blank, then they’ve stopped listening. That means you’re talking too much.

#2. Fiddling with objects is actually a sign of listening.

When adults fiddle with objects, they’re actually trying to stay actively involved in a conversation. You might still be talking too much if someone picks up a toy to mess with while you’re speaking, but at least you know that they’re still engaged with what you’re saying at the moment.

#3. You’ve lost track of the conversation.

I hate this when it happens. You’re in the middle of a key point and then BOOM you forget what you were going to say. At this point, there’s a good chance that you’ve already been talking too long. This is the time when you’ll need to bring the other people back into the conversation so you can get back on topic. Let’s face it – if your mind stopped listening to you, then there’s a good chance other people have as well.

#4. You feel awesome because you’re talking.

Did you know that when you talk about yourself, the brain releases dopamine? That’s why you feel awesome when you’re discussing you. This is why people who talk a lot will talk even more. It’s like verbal meth. You’ve got to make a conscious decision to stop talking and begin listening if you hit this “talker’s high” because otherwise you’re going to end up annoying people.

#5. Consider timing yourself if you’re not sure about how much you talk.

Remember playing “Red Light, Green Light” as a child? I like to use a similar system to judge how long I’ve been talking. In a real conversation, most people can handle 15-20 seconds of a monologue. This is called the “green light.” At 20 seconds, your light turns yellow. At 40 seconds, your light turns red and you need to stop.

So how do you bring people into a conversation if 20 seconds is all that you’ve got? I’ve found that having questions prepared for that topic of conversation can really help. Ask someone their opinion about the matter. Give them the chance to talk for awhile. Then you can come back for another 20 seconds. Then repeat.

It’s not always easy to listen more and talk less. When you can do it, then you’ll find much more engagement with the conversations of which you’re a part. And sure – sometimes you might run a red light. It happens. When it does, re-engage people by asking more questions and choose to actively listen instead.

I’ve found this to be an effective way to identify when I’m talking too much and how to fix the issue. What are some of your ideas? I’d love to get some of your input on this subject matter. 

9 Conversation Habits of Today’s Most Successful People

There are some people which seem so passionate about success that their love for it seems contagious. You feel like a different person when you’re around them. For me, I’ve learned more from individuals like these than anyone else.

As I started to think about what makes them so successful, I realized that it wasn’t good luck or a specific talent that they have. It’s a certain way that they talk with others. Successful people have certain habits which get included with every conversation they have. Here are some of the cues I’ve picked up upon.

#1. They say “Yes” more than they say “No.”

Being conservative can bring about slow and steady growth. To achieve your full potential, however, it is necessary to take educated risks. You can’t be afraid of failure. If you succeed – great! If not, dust yourself off and try again.

#2. There’s a certain level of gratefulness.

It takes hard work to get ahead in life. Success isn’t just handed to you like it’s a Christmas present. Gratefulness is present because there is a lot of effort behind every footstep taken.

#3. There’s also a certain level of humbleness.

Successful people also realize that they couldn’t have made it on their own. Skills have been handed down from mentors. A helping hand has been extended here and there. Real success comes from a team effort more than an individual effort – though both efforts are important.

#4. “Quit” isn’t in the vocabulary.

Failure is not the same as giving up. When you fail, then you made your best attempt. Do it again. Quitting means you fold all of your cards and let someone else win instead.

#5. There always seems to be some extra time.

If someone needs help, then successful people make time to help. It’s more than just returning a favor or working to expect a future favor in return. It’s about doing the right thing. Everything on a schedule is negotiable. You’ve just got to be willing to negotiate in the first place.

#6. A clear goal is always within reach.

Details are important, but not so important that they delay your work. Reach toward your overall goals and you’ll be duplicating what successful people do in every conversation. Every moment is an opportunity to move forward, even if it’s just a conversation with a cashier at the grocery store. You never know when the next great opportunity might appear.

#7. There’s a plan to fix broken things.

There are no excuses. You might not know what needs to be done at this moment, but you can find someone who does. You can learn from that person. You can work together to solve the problem. Successful people always look to find solutions.

#8. They are always learning.

I’ve found that successful people don’t feel satisfied unless they’ve learned something new every day. They are always on a quest for more knowledge. They ask questions. They seek out wisdom. No question is off-limits.

#9. There is a willingness to share the credit.

Successful people don’t like being in the spotlight. They’d rather share whatever credit is due with everyone involved.

The next time you speak with someone, listen for these components within the conversation. Is there passion and positivity in their voice? Or is there a certain tinge of negativity that you hear? When you can distinguish the difference between these two notes, and sometimes the difference can be quite subtle, you’ll know what people you’ll want to have on your next project.

What traits to you look for when speaking with successful people? I’d really appreciate having you share some of your unique insights on this matter with me. 

7 Ways To Stop a Negative Conversation Immediately

 

We’ve all been there at some point in time. You’re having a nice conversation with a friend. You talk about the weather or grilling in the backyard to break the ice. You might get asked about your family, your health, or if you like the new break room at work. Then, as if it were scripted, the conversation turns negative.

Now I know we all need to vent sometimes because frustration levels have built up to the point where it feels like an internal explosion is about to occur. I’m not talking about venting here, the use of coping skills, or dealing with difficult emotions. That’s a healthy process. Focusing on the negative components of what happens in the world around you is an unhealthy process.

Here’s the good news. You can recognize this negativity before it gets out of hand and then stop it from having a death grip on your conversation. This is how you do it.

#1. Change the perspective. There is a positive way to look at virtually every difficult circumstance that happens throughout the day. It’s not always to see that positivity on your own, but you can certainly look for it when someone is trying to make the conversation become negative. Reframe the issue being discussed so that the negative energy doesn’t receive the outlet it wants.

#2. Change the words. Words are powerful. They have a dramatic impact on each of us every day. Certain words are designed to be negative. Words like “stubborn” or “hate” or even offensive words you wouldn’t want someone to say in front of children. It’s easy to let words like these slide, but they contribute to the negative energy a conversation may have. Choose positive alternatives which still get the point across, but won’t let negativity fester.

#3. Change the memories. We often associate failure with negative emotions. Failure, however, can also be one of the most powerful motivators to strive toward real success. If you know this person has achieve something great, especially in the recent past, then revisit that event. Remind them of the positive emotions. It can help to diffuse the negativity rather quickly.

#4. Change the tone. It’s easy to inadvertently cause negativity to grow because of our own words. Offense can happen even thought it is unintended. Instead of becoming defensive, try being quick to apologize instead. When it happens to you, give the other person the opportunity to do the right thing as well. Sometimes we just have to give each other the benefit of the doubt.

#5. Change the dynamic. Ask for clarity. Maybe you heard something negative that wasn’t actually negative at all. Asking a question about what you’ve heard will help to make sure you’re on the same page.

#6. Change the balance. When you allow negative energy to corrupt a conversation, you’re also allowing the other person or people involved in that conversation to have power over you. This leaves you feeling miserable and for me, it can even cause me to lose my focus for the rest of the day. Our feelings are caused by our choices. We can choose to be positive, even when everyone else is being negative. Go into every conversation refusing to get upset.

#7. Change the priority. The project is due in 3 weeks. Your co-worker is being extremely negative because they feel pressured to get the job done right now. By shifting the priority of issues, you can stop a negative roadblock from appearing.

Negative conversations are always going to happen. When you’re prepared for them, you can turn that negative energy into something a little more positive. This helps to reduce the stress levels we often feel at work, especially when certain co-workers want to come talk with us about something.

How do you handle negative conversations? I’d love to hear some of your strategies that you’ve found help to diffuse the negative energies that others may try to bring your way. 

Ways You Can Start To Read One Book Per Week

Reading is something that I have always loved to do. One of my favorite things to do with my parents growing up was to visit the bookstore. I’d save up a few bucks, head over to my favorite authors, and pick out something new. Then I’d get into trouble staying up late with a flashlight so I could finish that book as soon as possible.

I’ve lost the habit of getting lost in a good book as I’ve grown older. Some of it has to do with the amount of time I spend online. When I’m writing, I try to avoid reading just so I don’t inadvertently copy the work of someone else.

Yet there is a lot of value which can come from reading books. Fictional books take us to new worlds to challenge us. Non-fiction books ask us to set aside our preconceived notions to teach us something new. Every book we read encourages us to read another book. And another. And then another. I’ve found that it is often more important to understand the book than it is to sit down for a few hours to read it cover-to-cover.

Here’s how I’ve started coming back to reading books, at least one per week, and maybe this process can help you as well.

#1. I spend time with the promotional materials. I treat the back cover and the flaps of a book, if it has one anyway, as if it were a 30 second movie promo. I like to picture the plot, see what the character looks like in my mind’s eye, or have a chance to evaluate the learning opportunities being offered to me. If I’m interested, then I keep going. If not, then I put the book down.

#2. For non-fiction books, I cheat and look at the final conclusion. The whole point of a non-fiction book is to provide a fact-based argument. It must have a conclusion to be a valid read. If the conclusion isn’t there, then I put the book down. I do that if the conclusion is a yawner as well. If I’m intrigued, then I work backwards through the material to see how that conclusion was reached.

#3. I skim past repetitive dialogue. Honestly. How many times can a character “smirk” in a book? Using a thesaurus is a lost art today. So is the inclusion of meaningful dialogue that moves a plot forward or helps you as a reader to put yourself into the shoes of a favorite character. If the dialogue is repetitive or the descriptions pointless, I just skip them. Sometimes you can skip entire pages and not lose your place.

#4. Focus on the Table of Contents. I love books that have a thorough Table of Contents. This is another test that lets me know if the book I’m thinking about reading is going to be worth my time. I’ll linger over particularly interesting phrases or even skim through a specific chapter to check out what the author has to say. If I stay intrigued, then I finish the book. If not, it sits on the bookshelf unread.

#5. I engage with the text. I’ve started to take notes as I read, both fictional and non-fiction books, because this helps me to “experience” the text in a different way. I’m doing more than absorbing information or using my imagination when I’m writing down key points. This allows me to retain more of what I read so that it becomes useful data I can recall if needed.

Reading books like this is definitely a change from what I used to do in my youth. I’ve also found that I tend to remember details more clearly with this process and that helps me get through books more quickly.

Do you love books as much as I do? If you read on a regular basis, I’d love to hear about your reading process and how it has helped you.

3 Things You Should Do At Every Meeting

Meetings can be beneficial when proper preparations are made for them. The only problem is that many people treat meetings as an unwanted necessity instead of something that can potentially benefit them. I see this happen all the time. People go to meetings without even thinking about the topics that will be discussed, feel lost during the meeting, and then don’t apply any of the concepts that were communicated to them afterward.

This is why I’ve instituted what I call the “post-meeting wrap-up.” It’s a few minutes after a meeting where we informally get together and go over the key points that were discussed one more time. If assignments were handed out, I’ll review those one more time. The goal is to cover these 3 things.

#1. Review the decisions and steps decided upon.

There can be a lot of information offered in a meeting and sometimes people get lost trying to sort out the data. By taking a few moments to review the key decisions that were made and what the next steps will need to be, I can make sure that everyone gets onto the same page. This lessens the amount of time spent individually reviewing these topics with those who might have gotten lost in the shuffle.

I like to use flow charts to communicate which people are responsible for specific action steps because this gives people a visual reference to understand what their role happens to be. Flip charts, spreadsheet handouts, or your preferred tools can also work here to reinforce the decisions made and actions that must be taken.

#2. Get communication points developed.

It always happens. Once I’m out of a meeting, someone comes up to me and asks me what happened. I want the people in my meetings to have the same answer when they get asked this question. It eliminates a lot of the gossip which develops when different answers come from meeting attendees.

To do this, I like to ask the group what they felt were the most important items we discussed during the meeting. We’ll talk about what the vision of our action steps happens to be, what our mission statement will be as we move forward, and the value of the core ideas we’ve all discussed. It’s not that I want people to hand out a scripted response. I just want us all on the same page, communicating the same ideas from the individual’s perspective.

#3. Ask for feedback about the meeting.

It would be naïve to think that I’m perfect in every meeting. I might forget to send out planning materials. My presentation might have been a little confusing. People in the meeting might not have felt included. Sometimes I can catch these issues on my own, but I want to catch them all so I can make each meeting be a little bit better. That’s why I always ask for feedback before everyone heads back to work.

I prefer asking for feedback immediately instead of waiting to send out an email later because the meeting is fresh in the minds of its participants right after it concludes. An email for feedback is also easy to delete or ignore. This allows me to make sure everyone got the message I wanted them to receive and vice-versa.

Meetings aren’t always fun, but they can be useful with the right plan of action. These are the steps I follow and it has helped me see a nice increase in productivity levels and consistency in the action steps which we take afterward.

Do you have strategies that you use to make meetings more effective? I’d love to hear about some of the ideas you’ve implemented to make your meetings more productive.

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