“Did I Understand You Correctly? I Thought You Said..” How To Conduct An Effective Meeting By 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 Strategies • 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 Tele-conference Steps for Effective Meetings State/Present • Control flow • Agenda Ask • 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 ….. WII – FM (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 Listening Inquiry • 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 communications “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 manager 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 actions Too vague Speaks for others Negative feedback gets sandwiched between positive messages Exaggerated with generalities Psychoanalyzes motives behind behavior Goes on too long Contains an implied threat Uses inappropriate humor The feedback is a question, not a statement 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?