As a leader, your role is to drive impact through others. Too much or too little communication is costly, generating rework, lost work, and lost customers. Simply introducing yourselves is helpful to create trust. Creating goals, roles, processes and outcomes prior to the communication discourages impulsiveness and creates a common language that drives teamwork. Having frequent, intentional meetings before they are needed is challenging and outcome generating.
If you meet online, it’s important for everyone to introduce themselves. This can be done in a chat window as people arrive.
Suppose there is someone in your regular meetings who always speaks over others, or another who never speaks at all. Figure out ways to make space for others if one person over participates. For face to face ‘live’ discussions, facilitate the meeting by starting with introductions and asking specific people for their thoughts in a balanced way. Start with a question that gives them a safe out if needed – “Jim, do you have additional thoughts on this?” Don’t use the phrase “We haven’t heard from you yet…” which sounds blaming. If people don’t want to contribute, they don’t have to. As leader, informally talk with them after the meeting for their thoughts. It’s important to notice and accept different communication styles and participation.
Here are some guidelines for when it’s okay to interrupt:
· To ask the person to slow down the pace for you
· To request a pause for everybody to get their bearings
· To ask the person speaking to clarify a point or repeat what you think you’ve heard and get clarification