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Words Matter

If you want to have better meetings, words matter.

Recently I sat in on weekly Level 10 Meetings with two of my clients. In both cases, as they were adding issues to their issues list, I noticed leaders saying something that negatively affected the quality of their meetings. In the first case, the repeated statement was, “We need to talk about …”, and the second case was almost identical, “We need to discuss …”.

It seems trivial, but it’s not. Both statements set a context for discussion rather than solution and conclusion. Using those words to initiate the issues-solving segment of your meeting will naturally lead to more talking and discussion. This was true for both meetings I observed. Both teams ultimately reached conclusions, but it took much longer to get there than necessary.

None of us needs extra stimulation to do more discussing. Changing one word can make a big difference – “We need to resolve …”. That one word establishes a context for attacking and solving your issues. With your minds set to conclude, you’ll identify the root cause of each issue more quickly, discuss/share the possible remedies and more expeditiously get to solutions, clarifying who will do what to fully resolve each issue.

It’s ridiculously simple, but effective – use better words to enjoy better meetings.

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