Don't Be a Meeting Wallflower
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn, and Mary Davis Holt, partners at a consulting firm focused on women’s leadership development and authors of Break Your Own Rules offer evidence that female executives, “report feeling alone, unsupported, outside their comfort zones, and unable to advocate forcefully for their perspectives in many high-level meetings.” This is particularly troubling in light of research offered by social psychologist and Stanford professor Deborah Gruenfeld that the more one speaks in a group the more status one is perceived to have.
Of course, not all women feel disenfranchised in meetings and many men can feel that way too. We contend it’s easier for anyone to speak up when they have a game plan for doing so. That’s why we suggest P.R.E.S.:
· Begin your statement with your main POINT.
· Substantiate the point with a REASON.
· Offer an EXAMPLE.
· Now SUMMARIZE.
Keep our P.R.E.S. model in mind as a way to contribute articulately and persuasively at meetings.
We want to hear: Do you ever feel reluctant to speak up in meetings, and if so, why? How does our PRES model work for you? Join the conversation and click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
7/29/2014 06:19:51 am
If I listen well and long enough, I generally will hear the thought said by someone else. If I have something different to say or unique I will say it.
7/29/2014 07:12:55 am
Just to clarify: Are you saying that as long as your idea eventually comes up, you don't need to be the one to get credit for it? I totally get that. The tricky part (at least according to the research cited in this Communication Capsule) is that to some extent our "credibility factor" in groups is linked to our input. BTW: Can you imagine how much time would be saved in meetings if all participants shared your views?:)
7/29/2014 08:02:30 am
I think there are natural "leaders" and there are those who prefer to wait and see what the others say first. In a meeting with total strangers, I may wait a bit to get the "lay of the land", but with age and experience in my "corner", I will find a way to communicate thoughts and ideas to most anyone. I really like your P.R.E.S system too - a great tool for preparing. It is not a matter of "getting credit" for the idea, but more a beginning for some honest sharing - brainstorming if you will - of ideas. Most meetings have a defined purpose - to update, generate ideas, or to solve problems.
7/30/2014 08:59:21 pm
I often swallow my words and ideas because I hesitate to jump into someone's talking and waiting for a good moment to come. and waiting and it doesn't come... The PRES model is a very good tool for structured conversation when people take turns to speak, but meetings often go off frames... What are the strategies for the real life?
7/31/2014 05:39:15 am
7/31/2014 05:40:02 am
7/31/2014 07:48:28 am
Thanks, Svetana and Merry. I do agree with Merry's suggestion about accessing the discussion. I also think that even if the group is not structured around PRES, it is still a powerful, compelling way to put out your own opinion. And it's important to remember that a person's stature in a group meeting is not just about how many opinions they give, but also how many clarifying questions, paraphrases and summaries they offer.
7/31/2014 05:40:34 am
8/1/2014 04:11:15 am
Susan, I totally agree with that. There are so many different kinds of meetings, and purposes they are organized for. Each type has a set of expectations placed on the meeting and the participants. I like the way you phrased that, about the importance of not only comments, but suggestions, questions, and clarification. Clearly understanding each other and what we are communicating is extremely important, and something that is frequently lacking in many meetings, especially if feelings are involved in the discussion.
8/1/2014 06:12:29 am
Yes you have, Merry! :)
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