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Ditch speeches, spark dialogue

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

If you talk too much at staff meetings, you won’t connect with employees. They might pretend to listen while pondering their next meal or weekend plans.

Instead, engage the group so everyone’s a participant. Joe Calloway, author of Becoming a Category of One and a professional speaker based in Nashville, Tenn., tells Managing People at Work how to turn a lecture into a lively conversation that awakens the audience.

MPAW: If you’re a manager with lots to say, what’s wrong with giving a speech?

Calloway: You’ll lose your people if you get too speechy. They won’t pay as much attention as you’d like. I’ve been speaking to audiences for nearly 30 years. The longer I do it, the less speechy I get.

MPAW: How do you involve the group?

Calloway: Know your goal for the meeting. Then ask yourself, “How can I get employees to help achieve that goal?” If you want to impart information, think of ways they can discuss how to package it and what they’ll do with it after the meeting.

MPAW: But don’t you lose control by sparking discussion?

Calloway: At first, it may be a little awkward if you get too many off-the-wall or negative comments. You have to keep everyone on track. Allot a limited amount of time for each person to talk so that no one monopolizes the meeting.

MPAW: What happens if someone challenges you?

Calloway: Be ready. I was speaking to employees at a struggling airline when an employee stood up and said, “In New York, here’s what we need to recover.” The CEO jumped in and said, “You won’t like what I’m about to say, but you won’t get any of those things. Let me explain why.” The CEO laid out the firm’s strategy and where it was allocating its resources. He was so straight with people that he got a standing ovation, even from the guy in New York!

 

 

 

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