Q&A: Practical Tips for Leaders

Maia Beatty Training

Here are a few helpful strategies for leaders, based on the questions posted on the Conversation Board at a recent leadership training:

Q: How do you set boundaries and manage expectations in a meeting or training session?

A: Every successful training or meeting starts with some form of pre-course correspondence, which provides the information described below to all of the participants prior to the event. The amount of detail depends upon the number of participants, how well they know each other, and the scope of the meeting or training. Below you’ll find the details we use to set up all of our trainings. With minor modifications, they will work just as well for any meeting.

1.  Setup

a.  Prior to the training send an email with the date, time, length, and location of the event.

b.  Include in the email expectations on attendance, handling work interruptions, etc.

c.   Attach a pre-course questionnaire asking the participants what they already know about the topic, what challenges they face with the topic and what they expect to accomplish in the training. For a meeting, send an agenda and provide the opportunity for the participants to give input on its content.

2.  Allow time for the group to introduce themselves to each other, which also helps you to get to know the makeup of the class. Provide the opportunity to share information about themselves such as their names and something unique about them, their strengths and challenges with the topic, what they want to accomplish and what they will contribute. You can do that quickly and easily using a Group Resume.

3.  At the start of the training cover the “housekeeping” questions everyone is likely to have such as: breaks, restroom locations, fire exits, refreshments, cell phone usage, how questions will be handled, etc.

4.  Briefly cover the purpose, benefits, and objectives of the training.

Preparing the participants for their success at the start of every class means giving them the opportunity to feel that they have a role in the training. This creates an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration between everyone in the class and leads to greater success for all involved.

Q: How do I remember the names of a large group of people that who are attending a meeting/training with me?

A: Whenever possible, it’s important to know as much about the people attending your training or meeting as you can. As a leader (whether you’re “in charge” of the event or not) it’s up to you to greet participants with warmth and genuine interest. Here are the strategies I use to successfully get to know attendees before I ever meet them:

1.  Obtain a roster of everyone who is attending the training/meeting.

2.  Look them up on Social Media. For business settings, I prefer LinkedIn. Familiarize yourself with their picture and imagine meeting them. That Simple Shift™ in your attention will help you to identify an interesting bit of information from their profile (where they work, their job, and anything of interest that jumps out at you) that will help you to connect more easily with them when you meet them in person.

3.  Make your own roster with their picture, name, company and whatever tidbit of information stuck with you from your research.

4.  Review it until feel like you know who you’re looking for and you’re comfortable that you can remember something about each person.

5.  Take your ‘cheat sheet’ with you to the event. Use it discretely, until somebody asks you how you can remember everyone’s name so easily. Feel free to share your new strategy—and let them know how you learned it.

6.  Arrive early, pick your seat—or complete the setup for your event—before anyone else arrives.

7.  Greet people at the door and if you remember it, use their name. If you don’t remember it immediately, don’t worry. Simply introduce yourself and ask their name. That might help you to recall something you’ve already discovered about them when they introduce themselves to you. Now you have it to use in your conversation. If not, ask them a question about themselves or why they are attending the event. When you really listen to their responses, you’ll be amazed at how much you will be able to comfortably and easily connect with anyone.

Leaders have a knack for making everyone in the room feel welcome and comfortable—even in difficult situations. Although it’s a skill that takes practice, I promise that your efforts will be rewarded!

Q. How can you tell that your message was received?

A. Although every situation is unique, there are at least three steps to this answer:

1.  First, it’s important to understand that sending your message effectively is always your responsibility. The moment you realize that you’re the one who wants it to be well received, you can take the steps necessary to make sure that it is.

2.  Next, it’s important to remember that before you send a message to anyone—whether it’s in person or by email—make sure you’ve already created rapport with him or her. (Everything you need to do that is in your course materials.) Once you’ve created rapport with everyone with whom you want to communicate, it’s a lot easier to get your messages across effectively. Without rapport, your messages are at risk of “falling on deaf ears.”

3.  Now that you know that effectively sending your message is your responsibility and you’ve created rapport with the person, remember that their response is an indication of the message they received. If what they heard is not what you said, stay in dialogue with them until you’re clear that they got the message you wanted to send. Matching their speed and process will help you tremendously—and for those of you who know how to match Sensory Channels, be sure to do that, too.

The more you practice using each of these steps, the more effective you will be at getting your message across to anyone.

Q. How do your communicate effectively when you need to say “No?”

A. Let’s break this down. There are two types of entities who need to be able to clearly communicate when the answer to a request is ‘No,’—the individual and the organization. For the individual, often your effectiveness is as simple as saying ‘Yes’ only when you mean it. See our recent blog article, Say “YES” Like a Queen for more.

For an organization, the key to effectively saying ‘No’ is to have processes and procedure in place to cover common contingencies. Consistent answers are easier for everyone concerned. That doesn’t mean that exceptions shouldn’t be made or that responses should feel canned, uncaring, or like you’re passing the buck. Showing concern for the other person goes a long way toward making your ‘No’ more palatable. Compare these two responses:

•  “I understand what you’re saying. We usually can’t do (insert request here) and here’s what I can do.”

 •  “Sorry, there’s nothing I can do—that’s against company policy.”

Which one is more effective for your ongoing professional relationship? Good customer service/employee relations are less about saying ‘Yes’ to every request and more about showing the person making the request that they are heard and valued.

Q. What’s the most effective way to boost your vocabulary?

A. Reading is a great way to increase your vocabulary! So is keeping a dictionary handy while you read so you can look up any words you don’t understand—or from which you cannot infer the meaning based on context. There are also 365 New Words a Year desk calendars and various apps to help you learn new words. The key to increasing your vocabulary is to practice by using them!

Q. How do you get unstuck when you’re working with someone who is older and stuck?

A. Getting unstuck is as simple as changing your perspective—refer to your training on The Gears™. You may remember from our training that, regardless of our age, we all have our own “1st Gear, in which we can get stuck from time to time. When that happens to you, the Simple Shift™ you can make is to Use The Gears to Shift Into Neutral™—simply stop and breathe.

Next, remind yourself that the other person’s 1st Gear is as true for them as yours is for you. There is no right or wrong. Each of you has your own culture, language, experiences, opinions, beliefs and values.

Finally, ask yourself, “If I had Unlimited Creative Power and I could not fail, what do I want in this moment?” Asking yourself that one question allows your brain to focus on what you want instead of the problem. You’ll be amazed at how the change in your tone and attitude will affect the responses from the other people in the conversation.

Although you still may not get them to agree with your point of view, you’ll both reach a clearer understanding of each other. Who knows, you may find that new options—which have never before occurred to either of you—become a part of your conversations!

Learn more tips and Simple Shifts™ that will change your world—try Move Into Your Power® for free today.

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