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Talk Lean

Shorter Meetings. Quicker Results. Better Relations.

By Alan H. Palmer
  • Read in 9 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 5 key ideas
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Talk Lean by Alan H. Palmer

Talk Lean will teach you how to express your thoughts in a direct, candid, yet courteous manner. The author shares effective, easy-to-apply tips for having a productive conversation that helps achieve your goals.

Key idea 1 of 5

Start every meeting by politely expressing exactly what’s on your mind.

How many times have you had an unproductive meeting just because you were afraid of expressing what was really on your mind?

Well, you can change that by announcing your intentions from the very first minute of the meeting. It’s important you make your purpose clear early on; the longer it is unclear, the more likely the other person or people will start to wonder or get suspicious that there’s something you’re not saying.

Express your purpose in language that’s straightforward and direct without being brutal or rude. That way, you’re setting a polite, courteous precedent for the rest of the conversation.

For example, imagine a manager has a talented but habitually tardy employee. She keeps reminding him to be on time, but since her tone is aggressive, he leaves remembering that his boss was rude, rather than remembering her point.

What not to say: “Why on earth do you insist on arriving so late day in, day out?”

Something better: “John, what can I do to ensure your punctuality in the future, so that we can avoid future confrontations on this matter?”

The second way, John has to think about his actions and propose a plan for improvement, likely leading to a positive outcome.

Preparation is important if you want your meetings to follow a similar trajectory. Think about what you want from the other person, and then work your way back to figure out the best way to achieve it. Then, you’ll be able to lead the conversation in a way that invites desirable responses from the other person.

In other words, ask yourself, “What do I hope will happen at the end of the meeting?” Use the answer to structure your opening comments. This way, you’ll be able to communicate exactly what you’re thinking and ensure that the other person is following your message from the get-go.

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