Why Leaders Need To Say Less So They Can Mean More - Meeting Leadership Podcast Episode Image

If you are a leader who understands the value of being quiet in the right moment, then you’re going to get a lot out of MLP #019.

In this episode you’re going to learn from Communications Expert Lauren Sergy about:

  • Why it is so important to not share everything that is on your mind
  • How valuable it is to find the right message that your followers want to hear
  • Why you should avoid tangents so you can help everyone to stay on track and more

And don’t forget that Lauren is also a guest on MLP #035 and #036 when she shares her expertise about ‘How Successful Leaders Win With Non-Verbal Communication’

Lauren Sergy

Lauren Sergy - Meeting Leadership Podcast - Effective Meetings

Lauren Sergy is a professional speaker, author, and trainer on public speaking and communication skills. 

She has worked with a variety of clients, organizations, and audiences in both the public and private sectors in Canada and the US, including KPMG, T-Mobile, Grant Thornton, Alberta Blue Cross, Park deRochie, University of Alberta, and many more. 

She holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Classics, and teaches business communication at Concordia University of Edmonton and the University of Alberta. Lauren is also a proud member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. 

Her book, The Handy Communication Answer Book, was featured on the Best Reference Books of 2017 list by Library Journal.

You Can get in touch with Lauren Sergy at – https://laurensergy.com/

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00:00 – Show Opening

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach, with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

00:27 – Start Here – Podcast content starts here!

Gordon S.:          Welcome to the Meeting Leadership Podcast and if you’re the type of leader who wants to become more self-aware so you can lead outstanding meetings, then you are definitely in the right place because today’s topic is why leaders need to say less so they can mean more. And to help all of us get the practical tips they need to take action on this topic, I’ve brought in a public speaking expert. Her name is Lauren Sergy and honestly, this interview is so valuable, I’m just going to jump right into it. Lauren, I’m so glad to call you a colleague. I’m so glad to get to admire the work that you do on stage that I’ve seen. I know that you’re getting great results with the clients that you serve. Welcome to the show.

Lauren Sergy:       Gord, you’re not just a colleague. You’re a friend.

Gordon S.:          Well, I’m so glad to be counted in in that way. There’s a lot of people though on the show here that kind of they’re listening and they don’t know who you are. Take a second and give us a quick introduction. Go ahead.

01:22 – Lauren Sergy Introduces Herself

Lauren Sergy:       My name is Lauren Sergy and I’m a public speaking and communication expert. What I focus on is helping teams, organizations and especially senior leaders become clear, more confident, more powerful, more effective speakers and communicators.

01:40 – Why Leaders Need To Say Less So They Can Mean More – Topic introduction

Gordon S.:          Well, and that’s an ideal description for why you are on this show, which is helping leaders to develop their skills, especially in from my point of view, when they’re in any meeting situation. Now that could be addressing a large audience. It could be addressing a simple team or even in a one on one, and I know today we talked about this before the show. The topic that we’re going to tackle is why leaders need to say less so they can mean more. What’s the first thing that you want to get across to leaders when you really want to talk about this topic?

Lauren Sergy:       With this topic, this goes for leaders and basically anyone who has specialized knowledge about a certain thing, which is usually whatever thing it is that we do, the people that we’re speaking to or speaking with don’t need to know everything that we need to know. They need to know enough to do their jobs. In order for us to do our jobs, of course we need to know a lot more about that topic and when you overshare or just share too much of your knowledge with the other people, what ends up happening is they become overwhelmed by the information and it becomes difficult for them to extract what they actually need. So part of our job is to figure out what it is the people we’re talking to really need to know and then filter out all of the rest

02:56 – Why Oversharing Doesn’t Work – 

Gordon S.:          And that absolutely crushes communication I Know in the consulting work that I do when I hear that the senior leader is oversharing or maybe being overly micromanaging in a sense, then folks feel like they’re not being allowed to do their job, to stay in their lane, to get the thing done that they wanted to get done.

Lauren Sergy:       Totally. And it becomes incredibly confusing for other people because then they’re worried, “Oh, do I need to know this thing? Should I be up to speed on whatever it is the leader is talking about?” And in most cases, no. They don’t, they need to know a little piece of it to be able to do their job. But again, you want to avoid that overwhelm of sharing absolutely everything that’s going on in your brain.

03:37 – Finding The Right Message – What is the goal of your message

Gordon S.:          It’s a great point. I know the second point we were talking about before the show was about finding the right message.

Lauren Sergy:       Yes. That’s one of the key parts of this whole process. And I’m pretty obsessed with working with people to find that right message before they go into the meeting, before they give that presentation. And in terms of the message, what you want to focus on is what is the goal of this meeting? What is the thing we are trying to achieve by the end of our time together? And that same idea goes for presentations as well. What is the one thing this audience needs to get out of the presentation or get out of the meeting by the time that we wrap it up and I make people stick to a single declarative sentence. So it needs to take a position, it needs to say something and it’s all got to be done in one sentence. That’s how you know you’re figuring out the message and making it really, really focused.

Gordon S.:          Can you give me an example?

04:31 – Finding The Right Message – Example

Lauren Sergy:       Yeah. So here’s a rather ridiculous example that I probably use way too much. If we were having a meeting and I asked you, “What is the goal of this meeting?” And you said the goal is to figure out how to live your best life. No, that’s not a goal. That’s too vague. It’s too unspecific. It’s too broad. It might sound like a goal, but it’s next to impossible to take action on that and it has no meaningful takeaway. If you were to say the goal of this meeting is to agree that living our best lives means having good nutrition, getting enough sleep and owning cats, then I know what it is we’re driving at in the meeting. Then I have a point of focus that we can always return to over and over again as we speak and as we go through the agenda.

05:26 – How To Avoid Tangents – How to tie the conversation back to your goal

Gordon S.:          This sounds like a great way to help leaders focus up before they get in front of any group of people. And the other point that you were bringing up before we got on the call here was, do folks ever get off on a tangent now and again?

Lauren Sergy:       All the time. And that’s one of the number one things people ask me about when we’re getting into meeting communication is, “I know that these people are going to get off onto a huge tangent. How can I get them back on track? Or how can I stop myself from getting off on tangents?” It’s hard not to get on a tangent. It’s just the way our brain works, right? When you’re dealing with a certain topic, we can see all of the connections, especially if we have deep knowledge in that area and our brains are like little balls of wire. Once a spark goes off on one wire, it zaps all of the others too and that’s when tangents happen. That’s why I like to have that focus message because then what you can do is right at the top, and I write this down on pieces of paper, right at the top I will list that goal.

Lauren Sergy:       What’s the one thing we’re trying to achieve? And then throughout the meeting I check back against that goal and say, okay, is this line of conversation directly helping me achieve that goal? And if it’s not, whether I’m the one who started the tangent or it’s someone else who started the tangent, I personally bring the conversation back towards that main goal. And you can do that in a couple of different ways if you need to be gentle about it because some people do not like having their ideas challenged, let’s say. You might say, “Oh yeah, that idea really is related to what we’re talking about right now and it’s related to our goal because…” And then you kind of tie the tangent back into the main goal for them. Or if you are able to do this and most people actually appreciate it when someone in the room does this, you say flat out, “I want to make sure that we’re still on target for our conversation, for our meeting today, what we’re trying to do is…” And then you list the goal. So let’s get the conversation focused back on that.

07:36 – Recap Of Key Points

Gordon S.:          Lauren, I so appreciate that you’re not off reading a textbook for us, but you’re giving people actionable things that they can actually do.

Lauren Sergy:       Yes. And here’s the kicker. You got to practice this stuff.

Gordon S.:          Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. This is one of those ones where I’m like, ah, why am I only doing five minutes? We need to talk more and more, but that’s why we’re bringing you back on another show coming up again in a later episode. The recap here for me today for the audience is if you’re a leader and you’re going into a meeting setting, I heard you say, don’t share everything, find the right message, avoid tangents, and do you want to put a sort of a last thought on that.

Lauren Sergy:       Keep it focused, keep it focused, keep it focused. What do the other people in the room need to know to do their jobs or to achieve that goal and keep everything focused on that?

08:26 – Emotional Planning Worksheet Free Download – https://laurensergy.com/meetingleadership

Gordon S.:          And one of the great ways that we’re going to help people get focused is you actually taken the time to create a wonderful freebie, a download that people can get to work on these key concepts. Where can people get the download?

Lauren Sergy:       They can head to laurensergy.com that’s L-A-U-R-E-N S-E-R-G-Y.com\meetingleadership. And at that link you’ll be able to enter in your name and email address and I will send you a planning document that will you figure out that goal, help you figure out what you need to cover in the meeting and help you keep that conversation focused.

Gordon S.:          Super high value every time Lauren Sergy hitting it out of the park and if people need to get in touch with you directly, what’s the best way to do that?

09:10 – How To Contact Lauren Sergy – https://laurensergy.com

Lauren Sergy:       Best way to do that is to either hit up my website again, that’s laurensergy.com. I’ve got contact forms there or you can email me directly, lauren@laurensergy.com and I’m pretty responsive so you’ll be hearing back from me soon.

Gordon S.:          I’ll put all of that in the show notes for folks so you don’t need to write it down with your pen just now. Lauren, thanks so much for being on the show.

Lauren Sergy:       Thanks so much for having me, Gord, take care.

09:33 – Conclusion

Gordon S.:          Isn’t it just so satisfying to hear from an expert who can boil things down and help you to take action today? If you’re a leader, you know that was a highly valuable exercise and if you didn’t get the information for the contact information or the download, you can just go to meetingleadershipinc.com/19 and you’ll find everything that you need right there. 

09:56 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy

And I also want to let you know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy. For the best in live training, for the best in online training to help you grow your leadership skills and help you learn how to run highly effective meetings, visit meetingleadershipinc.com/academy and thanks to you for spending your valuable time here with me and Lauren here today. I hope you really get something from this episode. I hope you get out there, take action and make things better for you and the people that you lead. And we’ll see you tomorrow on another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

10:34 – Podcast Outro

Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. Don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow right here on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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