Are You Monopolizing Your Meetings?
May 27, 2022 | BY Simcha Felder , CPA, MBA
As a business leader, you have likely run countless meetings. Your meetings might have ranged from a large group of people to a one-on-one. Meetings can be an invaluable way at producing better business decisions or gaining valuable input, but have you ever left a meeting and couldn’t remember anyone besides yourself sharing or contributing ideas?
Some leaders need to be trained to speak up, but many leaders have the opposite problem — they talk too much and monopolize meeting discussions. While it is certainly important to share your point of view in meetings, it is also important to not overshare and suffocate discussion. Monopolizing the conversation can lead to your team members becoming frustrated because they want to share their own ideas. At the same time, your ideas get ignored because stakeholders lose patience and tune you out because they are tired of you dominating meetings.
If you think you may be monopolizing the conversation in meetings, here are some helpful tactics for sharing the floor and helping get your message across.
Measure. After a meeting, take time to reflect on how much you contributed compared to others and try to estimate how much you spoke at the meeting. Did you speak for half the meeting or a quarter? Also, try to remember how often you interrupted or spoke over someone who was trying to contribute? If you have a pattern of talking over others, make a mental note before the meeting to prioritize listening over talking.
Create a Speaking Rule. For routine meetings, creating a rule for yourself can be an effective way at letting others have the floor. For example, wait until at least two other people have shared their input before sharing yours, or limiting yourself to only two minutes every time you speak up. While limiting your speaking time doesn’t have to last forever, trying to follow a speaking rule can help you build the habit of letting others share.
Compress your thoughts. If you have a habit of rambling when verbalizing your ideas, you could come across as scattered and ill-prepared. When speaking, make sure that what you’re saying is necessary and impactful. It is easier said than done but try limiting your thoughts to only a few sentences and make sure your message is cut down to the essential points. Extra words make for a more muddled message, which reduces the impact of your ideas.
Build in pauses. Are you giving your colleagues enough time to digest your comments and to then ask questions? If not, commit to giving deliberate and extended pauses. This straightforward tactic can be one of the most effective ways to encourage input from others. By slowing down and taking deliberate pauses, you’ll be able to regulate your impulse to overshare, while encouraging others to speak up.
Ask for help. Taking an honest and hard look at oneself can be very difficult and many leaders may not even realize that they are oversharing or interrupting others. Consider asking a trusted
colleague or friend to provide insights into how you’re meeting your goal of talking less and listening more. Makes sure to ask someone you trust and who will give you honest feedback, as opposed to someone who will just tell you what you want to hear.
As a business leader your point of view is important, but remember it is not the only point of view out there. By soliciting input from others, you can make better business decisions for you and your business. Try some or all of these tactics to make sure everyone’s input is being heard. We want to make sure you are developing into the best business leader you can be and we are here to help you in any way we can.