By Alan Graner
The following is extracted from Guts: Advertising from the Inside Out by John Lyons, published by AMACOM, © 1987, 1989. It is still in print.
“Meetings are the antithesis of action. They are forums for big talk and big egos but hardly ever big decisions.”
The key to a successful meeting lies in your ability to handle people. To play the game well you should:
- Know who’s going to be there. This is more important than what will be said.
- Become a student of the chop-chop school, i.e., cut through the BS. If your manager doesn’t like an idea, get her to admit it so you can cut the meeting short and get on to other things.
- Learn to lay pipe. Call your counterpart or next-level manager and get their ideas and concerns before the meeting. Now you can anticipate how the meeting will go and can anticipate events, wowing your colleagues.
- Read gestures and grunts. These can speak volumes.
- Avoid the I shoulda feeling, especially the “I shoulda kept my mouth shut” feeling. One of the best ways to avoid this is to really listen instead of faking it.
- Avoid vagueness and nonsense. The next time someone utters some vague phrase like “we should keep our options open,” ask him to expand on this thought or send a memo expanding his idea.
- Never duck a question. If you don’t know, stay so. If you guess an answer, people will hold you to it.
- Don’t be a one-man band. Get others to help you…and spread the credit.
- Have the last word. If people respect your opinion, wait until someone asks what you think. Then give a short, insightful answer…and shut up.
- Learn terrorist tactics. Sometimes you can scare people into action. Start with “If I were the competition I’d….” Most decisions are based on fear anyway.
Can you add to this list?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA marketing communications firm. For a powerful PR campaign that makes you stand out from the crowd