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  • Writer's pictureErin Bailey Lake

Please get to the point before my scheduled retirement date!

In our workshop – The Effective VIRTUAL Meeting – we ask participants: What’s the number ONE skill associates could develop to improve virtual meetings? 

Overwhelmingly, they respond: Get to the Point. 

One response: “It’s hard enough to stay focused in virtual meetings. So when the speaker wanders off topic, my mind wanders off to the golf course.” 

To make your virtual meetings more productive and less tedious, let’s work on a new skill: How to Get to the Point in half the time.

Here are our keys for presenters and participants.

1. Presenter: 

If you’re leading a topic on the agenda, preparation is always the key. Know what you’re going to say and practice it.  

  • Use BOOKENDS. Your first sentence should state your case. Your last sentence should state your conclusion.  

  • Between the bookends, offer 2-3 brief points to support your case.  (keep stories or examples under one minute) 

  • When you’re finished – STOP.  

Don't repeat yourself.
We repeat ourselves when we think our audience may not have understood or agreed with our point.
The way to achieve alignment is to have the AUDIENCE repeat your point, not you.

For example: "Chris, based on what you just heard, what does your team need to do next? And how can I support that?"

2. Participant:  

Your response to a topic is spontaneous. You can’t practice in advance. But you can still learn to state your reaction more succinctly.  

  • Avoid long context building and disclaimers.  

  • State your reaction openly in your first sentence. (Frame your comments.) 

  • Offer succinct support for your position. (no stories) 

  • Stop talking. 

Answer with Yes/No:

  • When you're asked a yes/no question, the first words out of your mouth should be "Yes" or "No." Then, you can elaborate.

  • If the answer is more complicated, still start with Yes/No. "Yes, that will be true IF..." or "No, that's not true WHEN..."

Remember, you are developing a new skill that will be vital and powerful in the new world of virtual communications. It takes effort and discipline. Prepare when possible.  

Think before you speak. 

Get to the point, so you can get to your next ZOOM/Teams meeting!

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