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meeting manners

 
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Hi,

I want to learn how to talk effectively in meetings. I think ,I can talk effectively when it's informal conversation but when it comes to formal conversation like meetings and conference calls, I think I lack the confidance.
My only fear is what if I say something that is silly or does not make any sense(can be suggestion or question). I do understand the on going conversation well.How do I come out of this loop?

My way of thinking is, instead of asking silly ( i think they can be but not nesesarily be silly) questions, not saying anything is better.

Now that we are in requirements and design phase, almost every day I have to attend meetings and conference calls.I have joined recently to the existing team.
I also think that when someone talks in the meeting, it does create a +ve immpression about one.

Any good suggesions in this situation?

Thanks,
Trupti
 
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Rule No.1: No question is silly question?

But if you think it then first try to find the answer from any of your colleague, if they dont have then make sure that you ask the question in the call
 
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I agree with R K.
No question is silly question
Ask whatever comes to your mind.
Just frame it properly.
 
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Originally posted by trupti nigam:
Hi,
My way of thinking is, instead of asking silly ( i think they can be but not nesesarily be silly) questions, not saying anything is better.


You should think opposite way. Instead of being doubtful you should ask question even if they are silly. What ever doubt you have, you better to get clarifications. The question may look silly but it is important for you to do your job and you can avoide many mistakes, save time.
 
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You can not give a single answer to your questions, as it depends
on the country your in (i.e. the culture).

In some contries you might have "there's no such thing as a stupid
question" whereas the outcome might not be positive in other countries.
 
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Originally posted by trupti nigam:
I want to learn how to talk effectively in meetings.



Trupti remember two things, first is that everybody faces same problem in the beginning � there is always first time. Second is that since you know that you need to improve upon something, it is a positive sign and you need to take some step to overcome by it � it will happen gradually, and not overnight.

I faced same problems and did following things to improve upon
(1)Read interviews in newspapers / magazine regularly and observer how reporter is asking question �very specifically� and how interviewing person is giving "diplomatic" answer. When you ask any question be specific and when you have to reply, be diplomatic.
(2)Watch talk show, debate, interview and argumentative talk on TV. Learn how to reply spontaneously.
(3)If you feel nervures anytime, just take deep breaths and pronounce your question / argument in your mind first and than by mouth.
(4)If required hide you behind someone, sometime if I want to avoid so much interaction with people, I just take a back seat. This is impotent when talking with client, as the senior handle the situation better.
(5)Before any meeting / discussion / conference, just ask seniors about what will be the agenda? What will be our stand on critical topics? and other related questions.
(6)Sometime keeping mouth shut is it the best things one can do.

All the best!!
[ March 17, 2006: Message edited by: Chetan Parekh ]
 
trupti nigam
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Thanks for so many nice suggestions. I will try to implement them.
I am in US of A. Actually this is my second time that I am in the initial stages of the Software development. In my earlier company I was junior but now with 6 years of experience, people do expect something from you!
But at the same time I would also like to mention that I do not have much of experience in protocol domain, I think that is the reason , this fear or whatever it is , is there...But the guys who interviewed me also know this fact.

Thanks,
Trupti
 
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Since u r in States
Firstly talk about current weather...
This always worked for me. Just in the beginning of the confcall, say good morning, then share the weather info cooly like, the weather here is pretty cold today and we are expecting some snowfalls this weekend...it will easeup the people mood and helps you gain confidence on talking further on technical topics.
Regards
Balaji
 
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Originally posted by R K Singh:
Rule No.1: No question is silly question?



This rule works well in a classroom but not in a meeting room. It is better to keep quite rather than to blabber something stupid in a meeting. Think ten times in your mind what you asking/saying before actually asking/saying it. It is not a fun party, it is a meeting of people trying to climb higher, possible stepping over your head. It is a jungle out there, you will be lynched in no time. Your whole career in a company can potentially be ruined by just one stupid comment. I am not exaggerating.

Here are the rules I try to follow:

1. If you decide to say something, make sure that you are grammatically correct. You cannot do a lot about pronunciation but you can certainly be grammatically correct. I have seen a lot of Indians (myself included) who sometimes use wrong grammar and believe me, it just takes the punch out of your comment.

2. Be precise. Especially in a conference call. There is no need to explain this I guess.

3. Avoid "filler words" such as literally, actually, you know, like. Use them as you use pepper on an omelette. Better less than more. In fact, if you can't use them right, don't use them. They will kill the dish.

4. Listen attentively. I don't know if this happens with you or not but many times, while in a meeting, my mind just wanders off somewhere else for 30 secs or so. When it comes back, I have no idea about what they are talking about. So for next couple of minutes I try to get a handle on the topic. This is a serious problem because you cannot ask intelligent questions if you don't know what the other person just said, and god forbid if someone asks you a question
[ March 17, 2006: Message edited by: Ram Bhakt ]
 
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An effective technique is to try to restate what someone just said in your own terms. It keeps you awake, shows interest in what they said, might help others understand it all. And if you get it wrong it gives them a chance to try some new way of communicating it to you.

It's also a good technique for cooling down conflicts as it shows you're giving all points of view a fair listening. A good facilitator can boil down the important differences in fair and neutral language with no cheap shots or spin.
 
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No such thing as a stupid question? Sounds like a challenge ...

Okay, so there you are at the meeting and the conversation is intense - which architectural approach to use. Your boss is attempting to make a point on a delicate matter that will take a few minutes to complete. About halfway through, wave your hand wildly and interrupt. Then ask "Do I like pie?"

-----

On to the topic at hand. I have a two step process for you:

1) Leave all your self-interest at home. You are at the company getting paid more than minimum wage to be a professional. Your time at the company is to further the best interests of the organization. Uusually, those interests are entirely fiscal - you need to bring more value to the company than they are paying you. Too often engineers feel that they want to look smart to their peers, so they are ashamed to show their ignorance. This activity is a just a spiraling nose dive to a pit of doom. Embrace your current knowledge and your need to know more. Do not show shame at what you do not know, but rather an earnest desire to collect as much information as you can. If something comes up that you feel you do not know enough about, be the first to ask about it!

2) Qualify everything you say. EVERYTHING! By saying "I think" or "In my opinion" or "I once read" or "This one time, at band camp ..." you can make everything you say absolutely true. This is the language of engineers. Politicians state false information as fact, or state their lame opinion as fact - mostly because it sometimes impresses the suckers and dopes. Of course, by speaking this way, you are suggesting that the people on your team are suckers and dopes.

I would rather work with a junior engineer that can manage these two tasks than any superstar that cannot.
 
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Filler words.. ah, I just hate it when I hear people using 'like' after every two words they utter.
 
Stan James
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Ditto to the last two: I was in a working session with someone who I totally respect as a technical giant, but I about strangled him for "go ahead and download the file and go ahead and read it and go ahead and report the results." There really isn't any way to say anything about it is there?
 
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I used to be exactly the same and have been passed over for promotion a good few times because I did not asert myself at meetings.
I've since discovered that the worst thing that could happen is that someone else at the meeting will prove your point to be incorrect or invalid, the best thing, you could make a point that nobody elsei n the room has thought about before and this could change the whole focus of the meeting. Either way it will however be noted by all attending that you were thinking, paying attention and trying to do something to contribute to the meeting.

You have to remember if you are invited to a meeting your opinion is considered relevent and as important as anyone else's.
 
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Originally posted by Ram Bhakt:


This rule works well in a classroom but not in a meeting room.



That is not true. No question is silly question rule will apply in all situations. More questions you ask more information you will know, especially you need to ask as many questions as possible during requirements phase.
 
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Originally posted by Siri Eswar:

No question is silly question rule will apply in all situations.



No, not so much. "Who are you, exactly?," spoken to your boss or in a meeting to someone you're supposed to have been working with. "What product do we sell, again?" spoken to just about anybody. "What's this 'Java' of which you speak?" These are all bad things to ask.

If a question betrays a fundamental unsuitability for one's job, then it's a silly question.
 
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Siri Eswar:

That is not true. No question is silly question rule will apply in all situations.



That's being too naive. You will know more by asking questions only if somebody answers them. Further, the answers are never free. There is a cost associated with each answer. People in a meeting room are not really meeting to answer your questions that you are supposed to know already. As EFH said, if you ask, "What's this 'Java' of which you speak?", you are in for trouble. This doesn't mean you shouldn't ask any questions at all. It is all a matter of common sense. Remember that even your questions reflect your intelligence, knowledge, and dedication.

If you ask at the beginning "OK, so what are we going to talk about?", when the coordinator has already emailed everybody the agenda, a PPT or some doc, this reflects on your sincerity. People, especially the higher ups, don't forget these kind of things. They will form an opinion about you that will never be erased.

In my opinion, treating a meeting room like a classroom is big mistake.

Originally posted by Siri Eswar:

More questions you ask more information you will know, especially you need to ask as many questions as possible during requirements phase.


Again, not true. If you keep asking stupid questions, you will only pi** off your client. Try it out
 
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