December 9, 2014

What are meetings for?

When most of us ask to meet with someone new in our lives it's typically for one of two reasons:

1) I want to learn from that person or ...

2) I want to share something with that person

Sounds a bit utilitarian, I know. Of course, many will say that we meet with folks to get to know each other, to build relationships. This is true but authentic relationships are generative–they produce something. In friendships, what I get out is most often a better me and I hope that my friend is better for our relationships. The same is true at work. Deliberate encounters, meetings ought to have a purpose and an outcome.

When you ask for a meeting with someone–unless you're intention is to share something with that person–your job is simple: Listen. Nothing is worse than asking someone to take time out of life only to ramble. Whether personal or professional. If you're asking for a meeting with someone that you want to learn from–or about–think about what questions you want to ask beforehand. Then, as my friend Mike advises, do 70% of the listening and 30% of the talking. My friends from City Net in Long Beach, CA talk about the "OARS" acronym when it comes to better listening: Open-ended questions, Affirming comments, Reflective responses, Summarize what you've heard.

This doesn't mean that there is no place for rambling, aimless conversation. Or conversation simply for the sake of building relationships. But without intention those will not be productive encounters, generative meetings.

So, if you have something to share establish that up front and deliver. If you wan to learn from the person, listen well. One of the benefits of this is that you will find yourself getting to know the kind of people that you can create change with. That's what the world needs. Those are the kind of friends I want.

Agree with me? Is this a fair assessment of meetings? Let me know what you think.

No comments :

Post a Comment