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Chapter 2. During the Meeting > Tip 10 Key Statements of Effective Meeting Lead...

Tip 10 Key Statements of Effective Meeting Leaders

Natural meeting leaders contribute frequent short comments to direct the flow of meeting discussions. Here’s a list of specific phrases such leaders might use. Listen for these or similar phrases at your next meeting; the people offering them are probably doing a lot to help (that is, lead) the group.

What Effective Discussion Leaders Say

Here are statements you might hear from leaders directing discussions at meetings:

  1. “Let’s try this…” This could be a suggestion that the group try a new approach, either to a problem or the discussion of a problem.

  2. “What do you think?” A request for input, directed to one or more participants.

  3. “So what you’re saying is…” An attempt to reflect or clarify what has just been said, and perhaps to relate it to a previous comment.

  4. “Good thought.” Natural leaders are complimentary of other group members and their ideas, seldom missing an opportunity to reward contributions.

  5. “Are we getting off track?” Always vigilant to control wasteful disgressions, the leader is asking for the group’s help rather than demanding it.

  6. “Be nice” (or “Be fair” or “Take it easy”). An attempt to encourage diplomacy or protect a group member from a harsh statement by another.

  7. “Your turn, then yours.” Natural leaders help maintain order in enthusiastic discussions by making sure everyone gets heard.

  8. “Is that OK with everyone?” (or “Can we all live with that?”) This is the all-important consensus question. Make sure you get a reaction from each participant before you proceed. If some don’t agree, talk it out. Without buy-in, you won’t know if your meeting’s progress is real. Remember: a good meeting is a series of small agreements.

  9. “What have we decided?” Summarizing periodically during the meeting, as well as at the meeting’s end, is critical to clear, productive communication.

  10. “Who is going to do what by when?” Like #9 above, a key question. If no specific action is taken as a result of the meeting, was the meeting really worthwhile?

And a Key “nonstatement” Is…silence. Silence is an important responsibility of a good meeting leader. Monitor your own talk time, and make time available fairly to all meeting participants. Especially if you supervise the participants, don’t dominate discussions. Let them give their ideas before you give yours.



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