Picture This…After the meeting, a colleague gives you surprising feedback. You didn’t realize that you were leaving a negative impression. Now you’re concerned about reputation management. You realize that being more mindful in meetings is essential if you want to maintain credibility.
Here are three common behaviors that turn up in meetings:
Habit #1: Using expressions that create doubt in listener’s minds.
Have you ever caught yourself in a meeting saying ‘I’m confused’ in response to a colleagues input? Often what others say and do is confusing. But if this becomes a pattern of speech for you, then your colleagues may leave with the impression that you are frequently confused.
How to deal with it: It is important to gain clarity however you need to use language that seeks clarity. Instead, you could say…I understand this and this, however could you clarify the xyz situation for me. Keep exchanging information until you achieve understanding and alignment.
If it is them being unclear, why leave the impression it is you that is confused. Your reputation will suffer just by repeating a phrase that leaves doubt in other’s minds.
Habit #2: Being quiet when the situation calls for speaking up.
Have you ever caught yourself feeling intimidated in the midst of people with higher authority than you? It’s not uncommon to be in a mixed group, however if you find that certain authority types leave you feeling uncomfortable, and you go quieter than usual, you will need to uncover the reasons why.
People who know you well will notice the difference when your usual talkative, assertive self becomes quiet and compliant.
How to deal with it: Reflect on a couple of instances where you felt intimidated. List the types of people or individuals that have this effect on you. Look for common themes to uncover what triggers you to be quiet and why speaking up seems risky or futile.
There are times you are required to defer to authority, however if your role requires you to be an active participant, your silence sends a message that you lack confidence which may not be true.
Habit #3: Being dismissive or selectively distant.
Have you ever caught yourself in a meeting interacting as little as possible with a couple of people? You have your reasons and refuse to waste precious meeting time by engaging them in the discussion. But, colleagues mention afterwards that you don’t involve these two like you do the others and are questioning why.
No matter how valid your reasons may be, the expectations of your role may require you to deal with your differences in order to move the business forward.
How to deal with it: Reflect on the following…Is your selectivity for personal or professional reasons? What message about you and your role does your behavior send?
Once you know your reasons and the price you are paying, you can explore your possible options for handling these relationships differently.
Having to adapt behavior can seem like a chore until you receive eye-opening feedback. Keeping a behavior that is damaging your reputation is unwise.
You may as well stand out for the right reasons. Ideally you want to be able to influence effectively while participating in meetings. Increasing influence requires you to become more self-aware. Combining insight and intent will help you to adapt the way you think and act in meetings.
What kind of surprising feedback have you received after a meeting?
Was it merely a misunderstanding or something that triggered you to act differently?
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