Meetings Are Just Dessert

By David Ryback, Ph.D.

Preparation for an important meeting can be very strategic.  It means the difference between success and failure in terms of whether or not you make that meeting successful in terms of getting what you want done through the agreement of the participants.

If possible, discuss your new vision, prior to the meeting, with your close associates to create a base of support for the success of this vision when final decisions are made.  The more radical your vision is, the more it differs from the status quo, the greater the need for agreement from your base of support.  As Jack Welch puts it, “change happens faster and deeper in organizations when people are emotionally engaged.”

It’s my strong belief that the most successful meetings—that involve change or new visions—are merely the desert of the meal.  The main course takes place prior, getting others’ feedback and negotiating the final outcome.  Appetizers are the feelers put out to see who might be in agreement and who not.  The main course is the hard work of authentically sharing, listening and compromising.   The desert—the formal meeting itself—is the culmination of the work leading to the agreement.


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