Isn’t it amazing that only men and women gather together to talk? And perhaps listen. Other creatures of instinct lack this ability. But how productive are our meetings? Whether it is informal or formal, personal or official? It is good to reflect on this.
First of all, consider others’ time:
Time rolls on. It does not stop for anyone. If you are wise you will use time wisely. Idling away time in gossip and slander is foolish and harmful. As Eleanor Roosevelt observed, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
So, if you value your time and others’ time, stop spending your time on discussing other people and events. Spend much time discussing ideas. And while you do so do not spend time with those who see only the clouds. But spend some time with those who see the silver lining. And can share your enthusiasm and encourage you on to achieve the ideas you’re working on.
Secondly, consider the value of bouncing ideas:
Ideas are never born mature. It takes time as well as fertilizing to make it grow and take shape. Ideas, like a tennis ball, need to be bounced on solid surfaces. That is why we take our doubts to our
teachers, parents or other seniors who have the maturity to see the value of the ideas we have. And this too happens in a meeting.
When ideas are bounced it helps bring clarity to your mind. The one listening to you can point out to you some important points that might have escaped your attention. He or she also will have the advantage of seeing the bigger picture while you might be struggling with a smaller aspect of the problem. So invite healthy criticism of your ideas. It will help clarify your thoughts.
Finally, tune in to feedback:
Most meetings lose value because many talk but do not listen to what others have to say. They just proclaim and pass on. This creates resentment in the long run. Whether you are the boss or a parent or a husband or a friend; if you fail to tune in to feedback you can lose the warmth of your relationship.
When you listen to feedback, it gives you valuable clues to as to what the other person or party thinks on the issue under discussion. Feedback can be positive. It can at times fail to be enthusiastic. Then you have to seek the cause. It might take some asking but if your relationship is good with the person concerned, he or she will tell you what is hurting them and why. Then you can make adjustments to
your original proposal so as to accommodate their views and ideas and your relationship will be strengthened. And meetings be made more productive.
Of course, if the meeting is official the value of having a clear agenda, an efficient moderator or chairman to run the meeting and the ability of the group to stick to the purpose of the meeting; will make a huge difference in its outcome.