Audience Q&As can quickly devolve. Someone wants to share a story instead of a question; someone else wants to demonstrate their own expertise and “teach from the seats”. No one seems to know how to ask a succinct and relevant question and you can feel the frustration from the group. As the leader – whether it be in front of a large audience or just at your staff meetings – you must consider the impact of these contributions on the room, and your goals.
This episode is about being clear on your objective and helping everyone make the best contributions possible. It’s also a little bit about Jodi’s terrible poker face.
Why is that important for business?
There are people who are always going to answer, regardless of the question, with the answer they want to give. It can feel like they are not taking responsibility for the care and feeding of the group, nor considering the impact to the group.
As the leader, it is important to frame the rules of contribution before asking people for their contributions.
For example, instructing them that the first sentence should end in a question mark. Give the Processors in the group time to think about what they want to say, and how to frame it within the guidelines you have given them. Set the expectations early.
However, it is also important to recognize that there are things that can get stuck in people’s craw, things they need to be acknowledged before they can move on. You don’t have to let this get you off track, but you do have to deal with the pothole in the parking lot, or it will keep coming up all day long.
Leadership is key here, and will affect the happiness of your team, and retention. You need to be clear on your top priority in the moment. Is it to keep train on the track, or is it to surface new thoughts and ideas? Are you trying to assuage concerns or present information? Each priority needs a different style of leadership. And you need to periodically asses if your leadership is angling you towards the outcome you want.
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