Every interaction we have at meetings is a chance to affect the attendees for better or for worse.  

The way we communicate is often as important as the subject of four discussions.  The goal is to have your cultural and self-awareness become an example for your employees to follow.  

In episode #104 of the Meeting Leadership Podcast, we ask 3 Key Questions you should consider regarding your meetings’ language.  Answering these questions should give you a clearer picture of whether or not you need to change your own way of communicating.

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00:00 – Show Opening

Have you ever been facilitating a meeting, and the wrong words came out of your mouth. You didn’t mean it, but it really put people off. Or maybe, you don’t even have the self-awareness to know what you’re saying, and you’re actually offending people during your meetings. Well, today on the Meeting Leadership Podcast, we’re going to dig right into why the language of meeting leadership is so important.

00:48 – Podcast content starts here!

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. Your listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

Welcome to another episode of The Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard. I want to say welcome, it’s really great to have you here. It’s great to have you here because you’re the type of person again, that is building up their leadership skills. You want to learn how to have effective meetings. You know that when you put those things together, you’ll impact your team, you’ll impact your organization. And ultimately, it will lead to better customer service and a greater impact on the communities that you serve.

01:16 – Why is the language of meeting leadership so important?

Today on the show, we’re going to tackle an essential topic. It’s called Why the language of Meeting Leadership is so Important. I have to say, I come by this honestly. Because in my work, I facilitate a lot of meetings. You can imagine the amount of hours that I’m putting in doing just that. Occasionally, I have to admit I slip up. I don’t mean to, I’ve not got bad intentions. But I’ve had some people come up to me, and generously remind me about why I slipped up. Then they allowed me to learn, and become more self-aware. This is why I want to talk today about the importance of language.

01:52 – The example of the conference in Toronto

Let me give you an example from my own experience. Now, after teaching a meeting productivity improvement session at a conference in Toronto, an indigenous woman spoke with me. She let me know that she really enjoyed the workshop, got a lot of great information. But she also wanted to make me aware, that I had used the word powwow in place of the word meeting, to make a point during the session.

She understood that I wasn’t consciously using that word to be offensive, but she also wanted to help me learn to be more aware of the language that I use when I teach. I have to say that I am really grateful that she pointed that out. It helped me to become more self aware, especially for all the different concerns that are in any room at any given time, especially when you’re leading a meeting. To help you along with becoming more aware of the importance of what you say during meetings, here are three key questions to answer.

02:36 – Key Question #1 – How sensitive are you about the language you use during meetings?

Now, the first one is this. How sensitive are you about the language that you use during meetings. And not only is this a great question to ask yourself and give an answer to, but you really should go to your colleagues and ask them to get some real reflections back.

03:00 – Key Question #2 – Are you offending anyone without realizing it?

Which leads me into the second question, which is this, are you offending anyone without realizing it? Now, of course you can’t answer that one on your own. But when you’re speaking with your colleagues, ask them honestly, “Am I saying anything that’s off-putting, off-color, and really taking people out or actually offending people?” Which brings me to a second example that I want to pass along from my own experience.

Now I was leading an all day strategic planning session. I can tell you it went really well. I got great feedback on the session. But there was a moment during the session when somebody said, I can’t read what you wrote up there on the board. Can you tell me what it is? And I said, “Wow. Well, I know you can’t read my Arabic. But…” I went to explain what it was, and somebody in the group said, “Well actually, I think I probably could.” And then everybody started to laugh, because the reality was, this person was from the Middle East.

Now I didn’t know that, and I was referring to my own handwriting and sort of a self-deprecating way. But that was the wrong way to do it, because that person took offense. Thankfully, it didn’t end up being a big deal. The moment passed along, and they realized that really I was coming from a sincere place and I didn’t mean anything by it. But again, when you’re dealing with all kinds of different people, you really have to be sensitive to all of the concerns in the room.

04:18 – Key Question #3 – Would it be worthwhile to talk about this issue with your team?

Which brings me to the third question, which is this, would it be worthwhile to talk about this issue with your team? Now, I think most people are definitely going to say yes, because we know that cultural sensitivity is critical. We are living in a multicultural world, a multi-aged world. There’s all kinds of sensitivities, and you don’t want to lose the point of what you’re saying during a meeting, and have it be railroaded by something that you didn’t mean to say.

It just doesn’t make any sense. So, of course it is worthwhile talking about it. Talk with as many people as possible. Then help each other to learn the language that you should be using, so you can stay on topic and get more done during your meetings.

04:48 – Recap of 3 Key Questions

And now let me take a moment, to recap the three questions that will help you learn why the language of meeting leadership is so important. Number one, how sensitive are you about the language that you use during meetings? Number two, are you offending anyone without realizing it? And number three, would it be worthwhile to talk about this issue with your team?

05:22 – Extra listening – MLP 039 – MLP 089

And if you’ve enjoyed listening to what we’ve been talking about during this episode, then check out episode 39 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. It’s called, Why Intercultural Competence is Critical For All Leaders, and that’s with Dan Garcia. You can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipbank.com/39.

Another great episode that will help you think about the language that you use during meetings, is episode 89. It’s called, Why Sarcasm is Hurting Your Team and What Leaders Can Do About It. That’s with MacEwan University Professor, Lisle Benson. You can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipbank.com/89.

06:04 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleaderhshipinc.com/academy

I also want to let you know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy. If you want to go into the areas that we’ve been talking about today on the show, in the areas of leadership skill development, in the areas of team building and learning how to run highly productive meetings with great live training and online training options, then visit meetingleadershipinc.com/academy.

06:46 – Podcast Outro

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button, and then leave a rating and review for the show. We will take in that information, and it will influence what we do in future episodes. And as always, thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

Be sure to subscribe, for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. And 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

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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