Have you ever been on a Skype call where you could hear the person on the other end trying to quietly eat their lunch in the background? Don’t ever do that. Firstly it’s bad for your digestion, and honestly if you don’t make yourself have a break to eat, what’s the point of getting out of bed in the morning.
This might sound obvious but the real reason you shouldn’t multi-task during meetings is not just that it’s incredibly disrespectful to the other person, but by not making time to give someone your full attention you’re signalling your intention. You’re reflecting to the person this doesn’t matter, and worse still that they don’t matter. That’s how your actions make them feel. The result is your attitude sucks all of the life out of the meeting and shapes the outcome—probably not for the better.
There is an alternative, honest course of action to take and five questions to ask yourself before you schedule a meeting that matters.
1. Why are we having this meeting?
Is the point to manage or to lead? I’m not sure you need to meet to manage.
2. Do I really want to speak to, connect with, change this person?
Be honest with yourself. Spend time with people you want to make a difference to.
If you have no choice (the boss said so) understand that your intention affects the outcome.
3. Am I treating my colleague like I would want them to treat me?
My friend Moe makes each person he connects with feel like they were the only person he wanted to hear from today and all of that gets reflected back to him.
4. What value am I adding by being in the room?
Bringing your whole self into the room (even if it’s virtual) ignites things.
You might find it makes for a more productive and rewarding experience for you too.
5. Could we do this by email?
If you can’t attend the meeting with the right intention group email might be the way to go.
There’s something incredibly rare about a person or business that says, “we are jumping out of our skin to talk to, or work with you”…as long as they mean it. Yes, meetings have a practical purpose, of course we need to get projects managed and to-dos checked off, but not at the price of losing our humanity.
If you scheduled it make it matter.
Image by Francois Hollande.