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  • Writer's pictureSue Schleifer

Offering Your Best Self

Recently I had two experiences in meetings that prompt me to write this post. In the first meeting, I arrived a few minutes early to a one-on-one appointment. The receptionist said Clyde (not his real name) would be with me soon and pointed to the man next to her behind the counter. He said, “Oh, my previous appointment must really be late. I’ll be with you in a few minutes.”

Five minutes later he escorted me into a conference room. He said, while looking at his phone, “This meeting will be quick.” At this point, he had not yet looked me in the eyes. Staring at his phone and typing madly, he apologized. Then he pulled out a standard form to ask me some questions. Distracted by his phone again, he typed some more. He began to ask me some questions that were not relevant to my situation and wrote a few things down. I could tell he wasn’t really listening to me. Then he said, “excuse me,” and picked up his phone to call someone back and was annoyed when they didn’t pick up. He then informed me that he was anxious regarding the appointment before mine that hadn’t yet shown up because they were a potential lucrative client. That made me feel even more like chopped liver.

Then I went to a training class on social media. When I arrived a couple of minutes prior to the start time, there were ten people in the room. The instructor sat at the front looking at his phone. He did not greet people when they arrived. A few minutes after the hour, he informs us that he will wait to start until 10 minutes after the hour. What? We are all sitting here on time and you are going to make us wait? At least you could have us introduce ourselves, encourage us to network with each, and ask what we would like to learn in the workshop.

Musicians know that every person in the audience deserves a great show, whether they are performing for an audience of five people or 500. How could these two people have performed better?

  • Respect your audience by saying hello, look them in the eye, show interest in the person/class by asking questions, listen with interest, start on time.

  • Put your phone down and on silent for the duration of the meeting/workshop.

  • Use trainings and meetings as an opportunity to connect with other human beings.

It really is simple. How do you connect with others in a meeting or training?


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