Tired of going to meetings where it seems your truth isn’t heard? Want to better influence policies, strategies and decisions?
Next time you receive an invitation to a meeting that matters to you, don’t just click “accept”. Instead, invest 20 minutes to answer 5 questions.
Ask yourself these 5 questions.
- Why did the person who called this meeting call it? For example, is it to convey information I’ll be expected to act on? To get my opinion on a decision? To work with others to put together a plan?
- What’s the target outcome? For example, is it for everyone to walk away better informed? To gather new information that will impact a later decision? To gauge timing for implementing a new plan?
- Why am I being invited? For example, is it because I have information other people need? Because I have responsibility for implementing a decision? Because some people may think I oppose the plan?
- What am I expected to contribute? For example, just an open ear? A vote in decision-making? Help run the meeting?
- What would I like to contribute? For example, do I want to relate customer-facing perspectives? Give a devil’s-advocate view? Offer encouragement to the team?
Next, send a note.
Relay what you’ve put together to the person who called the meeting. Check with them to see if your answers match up with what they’re thinking.
Here’s an example:
“Hi Hal. Thanks for the invite. I want to be prepared for the meeting. A few quick questions:
- I think the purpose is to share decisions made about pricing, is that right? Or something else?
- What meeting outcome are you looking for? Asking so I can be prepared to support it.
- I think you invited me because I’ll need to adjust how we’re charging, right? Any other reasons you want me there?
- Anything you want me to contribute besides an open ear?
- At the meeting, I’d like to speak about the customer perspective and how we continue to demonstrate our core values with these changes. Does that work for you?”
Notice that by asking to confirm up-front, you in effect:
- Ask for a slot in the agenda.
- Give the person who called the meeting a heads up about what you want to talk about, so no surprises.
- Check to ensure that the truth you want to speak relates to the purpose of the meeting and the reason you’ve been invited.
- Demonstrate support to the person who called the meeting, without demonstrating support for a decision that you may disagree with.
Influence in the Meeting: Speak Your Truth
After receiving confirmation to your note, you can influence in the meeting by speaking your truth. Start with the the facts. Describe how you interpret them. Express how you feel about the truth as you see it, and make any requests for what you’d like to see happen.
Then find out if you’ve been heard. Ask the table, “What’s your reaction to what I’m saying?” Pause. Listen. Be open to the truth as they see it. Because if they can’t influence your thinking, you can’t influence theirs.
Want to know more about influencing meeting outcomes? Schedule a call.