“Did I Understand You Correctly?
I Thought You Said..”
How To Conduct An Effective Meeting
Making Communications Work
AIM-IRS Conference
August 2008
Presented by:
Lawrence Barnes
IRS:LMSB Director of Field Operations and
Roslyn Russell
IRS: W&I – Field Assistance (CARE) Territory Manager
The words you use and how you phrase
them make an indelible impact on the
listener ........
Effective Communication
Crucial component of success as a manager
• Non verbal communication
• Listening
• Assertive communication
Mechanics of Effective Communication:
3 Vital Communication Tools
Your voice
• Your ability to listen
• Your body language
Communication and Accountability
Employees look to their immediate manager
to translate organizational strategies into
actions they can take
• Improves business results
• Improves employee satisfaction and engagement
Communications must be measured
regularly and quantitatively
• A business process
 “….People need to feel connected to the overall
objectives of what the organization is doing …..
…. All levels of teams are stronger when each
person understands how they fit into the big picture .
- Glenn Brome
Accountability ….and the OZ Principle
Do It
Stay “Above the Line”:
See It – Communicate Openly and Candidly
Own It –Act on Feedback I Received
Solve It – Constantly Asking “What Else Can I Do?”
Do It - Sustaining an Environment of Trust
Solve It
See It
Don’t Play the “Blame Game”
(Don’t go below the line)
• Wait and See approach
• It’s Not my Job
• Ignore/Deny
• Finger pointing
• Tell me what to do
- Partners in Leadership
Effective Communications
Technique is not enough
• Include yourself
Purpose of Meetings
• Get reaction
• Solicit commitment
-Peter Block
Including yourself ..
Determine your communication style:
• Open Door Policy
• Employees feel their opinion counts; interruptions
can be distracting
• Rather receive in writing/email rather than
conversation/voice mail
• Although provides a record, can make employees
feel distant
Prefer to talk individually rather than or in a group
• Individual conversation is revealing but time
consuming; group discussion is more efficient but
less detailed
Meeting Format
One - on - One
Group setting
Steps for Effective Meetings
Control flow
• Agenda
Look at Reaction (the heart of the meeting)
• Ask questions
Decide, (then) Consider/Test
Keep balance
• Essential aspects
• Discuss within group control
Give support
(Peter Block)
Effective Communication for
Successful Meetings
Don’t cast/imply blame
• Instead of .. “I thought you said….”
determine “Than what did you say?”
• Use active listening techniques
Approach is important
• It’s not your problem, it’s ours
• Move away from always being “in the moment”
Effective Communications includes …
Horizontal slices
• To probe for how opinion/insight varies at same
level of the organization
Vertical slices
• To understand how effectively upward
and downward communication works
• To probe for awareness
- Daly & Watkins
Effective Communication …
answers the question …..
(What’s in it for me?)
Effective communication builds: trust, respect
and rapport
- Glenn Brome
A good manager is a good facilitator.
Core Skills of Good Communication
• Hear another person
• Use thought provoking questions
Only after Listening/Inquiry:
• Feedback
• Accountability/Goal Setting
Techniques for Good Listening
(include but are not limited to …)
Summarize and Paraphrase
“So, the way you see this …”
Reflect Feelings
“I can see that this is frustrating for you.”
Use silence
Be aware of and understand non-verbal
“No one ever listened themselves out of a job.”
Calvin Coolidge
Effective Listening
Requires active involvement in the process
• Demonstrate your willingness to truly understand
what the other person is saying
When Using Inquiries
Use open-ended questions
One question at a time
Follow the interest and train of thought AND
energy of the team/employee
• Thought provoking, challenging
No solutions, phrased as questions
Silence in Communications
Can be used for positive effect
• To strengthen the communication
Use gestures and expressions that
indicate a probing point
Feedback …
 One of the most challenging tasks of a
 Necessary
For motivating and coaching,
Conducting performance appraisals, meetings,
Administering discipline
Being an effective mentor
 Helps employees
• Grow, develop and correct their mistakes
Feedback is …..
(Peter Block)
Non-evaluative and descriptive
• Treat group as collection of individuals
• There is always some resistance
Do not over-invest
“Be aware” of quick compliance
Effective Feedback is Assertive
(Peter Block)
Language that is:
• Descriptive
• Focused
• Specific
• Brief
• Simple
10 Common Mistakes of Giving Feedback
Judges individuals not
Too vague
Speaks for others
Negative feedback gets
sandwiched between
positive messages
Exaggerated with
Psychoanalyzes motives
behind behavior
Goes on too long
Contains an implied
Uses inappropriate
The feedback is a
question, not a
Use C.A.R.E. when Giving Feedback
 C .. Context
• State the context ( situation, environment) that preceded
the observed action
 A .. Action
• State the specific behaviors observed
 R .. Results
• State how the action effected the context, the person or
other people
 E .. Empathetically Explore
• Explore the interpretation of what happened and if any
changes are needed
Benefits of Feedback
Reduces Uncertainty
Solves problems
Builds trust
Strengthens relationships
Improves quality
A way to learn
There is an expression …
You cannot be a prophet in your own land
…. “Communication is something you
already know how to do, but need help
practicing and refining.” …
- Glenn Brome
So... What did you hear today?

Did I Understand You Correctly? I Thought You Said..” …