Some people don't feel that their views are valid, while others just have quiet voices. Regardless, it's important to be heard. Repeat your point if necessary. If you're unhappy, say so. It's OK to disagree.
- There's no point in going to a meeting if you don't contribute anything. And I reckon in most meetings I've been to, there have been up to half the people who haven't contributed anything at all. And there's always at least one person who doesn't contribute. I hope that isn't you. But if that sometimes is you, then I hope this section helps. Firstly, some people just have quiet voices, in which case, please do try and speak up. Some other people don't have very good hearing, and there's often a lot of shuffling going on, so you do need to turn up the volume a little bit more than normal conversation.
If someone coughs halfway through your statement, just rewind and repeat that part again. And make sure your statements are well structured. Things like, there are two reasons why I think it's a risky plan and the first one is, so people know where they are in your statement. Often it's good to signpost what you're going to say. Things like, I just want to add a quick thought. Or, can I explain something a little bit complicated, only take two or three minutes. Or, I agree in principle, but I have two small concerns about it, and they are as follows.
So people know what they're going to get. They can pace themselves through your answer, and they know where it's going. And signposting can sometimes be in the form of a question. Can I make one more point about the product launch, please? And that's almost better, because although it's a little unassertive, it gets everybody's attention because they have to answer the question. Next, don't be afraid to say something twice. Nobody reacted to your point, say it again.
Maybe they just didn't hear it. Apparently after just half an hour of the meeting has elapsed, people are only hearing about 50% of what is said. The rest of the time, they're having micro sleeps, where they're off with the fairies thinking about previous comments, or what they're going to say next, or what they're going to have for dinner. So it's quite normal to have to say something twice. And if you make a point and it gets a tumbleweed reaction, you can just say it again as a brief summary. For example, you could say, so guys, what do you think of my idea of doubling the price and still making the same profit, but for less work.
And it's okay to disagree. In fact, there's not point in agreeing. The only useful contributions, are the ones that are different to the information so far. So, how much speaking time should you have? Well, if you think about it, a meeting with 10 people would ideally consist of each person talking for 10% of the time. So if your airtime is less than your share, that's not fair, is it? Of course, it's never going to be exactly equal, and some people just are chatty.
So, maybe as a rough rule, you should aim for your rightful share, but definitely make sure you get half of your share. So that would be 5% of the time in a 10 person meeting. If you're taking more than your 10% share, that's selfish. But if you're doing less than half of it, you aren't contributing enough. So it's between your equal share as a maximum, and half your share as a minimum. And we've just seen that if there are 10 people, your share should be between 10% and 5%.
If there are five people, that's between 20% and 10%. And it's interesting to think that if you're having a discussion with just one other person, you should be talking for between half and a quarter of the time. I like this rule. So, what's your general feeling about your level of contribution? Do you say enough in meetings? Do you speak up when you should? And are you going to do better at the next meeting?
- Setting up meetings
- Determining who needs to attend a meeting
- Choosing your meeting duration
- Providing reminders for successful meetings
- Facilitating a successful meeting
- Getting the best out of people
- Dealing with latecomers and common meeting problems
- Deciding if you should go to a meeting
- Making your voice heard
- Managing remote or virtual meetings