Talking meetings have much merit, but can also be subject to a host of problems. There are approximately 55 million meetings a day in the United States. Although they often have many different purposes and goals, these meetings are typically conducted in the same way, time and time again. Namely, individuals gather together, virtually or face-to-face, to talk about a topic. We often don’t realize it, but talk is actually a choice; simply one of many different meeting styles or communication methods a leader can select. While talking meetings have much merit — when planned well they can be efficient and offer a level of comfort in speaking in person — they can also be subject to a host of problems: one person dominating, others checking out and multitasking, side conversations, straying off course, and pressures to conform to the boss’s ideas. The good news is that alternative approaches do exist and, depending on your task at hand, can work incredibly well. One such approach embraces silence. This technique may seem odd, but current research supports the benefits of holding a “silent meeting” as one way of better leveraging the ideas, perspectives, and insights of organizational talent. Leaders should add it to their toolbox in order to select the right meeting style for the job at hand. At the very least, trying new approaches will serve to keep meetings fresh, engaging, and interesting.
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