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Good Meetings: Act like a Host

Like it or not, humans are social creatures. Whenever we gather together for any purpose, we like to feel included. That means feeling welcomed into a space, knowing the names of the people around us, and understanding why we are all gathered together. When you run a meeting at work, it will never hurt you to behave as though you’re welcoming people into your home!

Let’s face it: Meetings that aren’t productive can contribute to employees feeling unengaged or disengaged. But meetings can be productive, especially when you use a little emotional intelligence and give some thought to how you’re going to run the meeting and what people might experience during the meeting.

This is the second post in a series of four about how to run better meetings at work. The topics we’re covering are:

Most modern workers have to be in meetings at least...

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Good Meetings: Preparing for Potential Conflict

Most of us spend a lot of hours in meetings of all kinds. A friend of mine has repeatedly complained,

“I can’t get any work done. I have too many meetings!”

Unproductive meetings can contribute to employees feeling disengaged or unengaged; so running a good, productive meeting is one step toward increasing employee engagement.

This post is the first in a series of four covering ways to make meetings more productive. The topics we’ll cover include:

We’re tackling the last point first today. We’re all human; we all have emotions; and meetings typically feel like interruptions into our day. This means the potential for disengagement or conflict is relatively high. Hopefully my future posts (hosting, purpose, timing) will help prevent or resolve disengagement in your meetings. For today, let’s focus on preparing for the...

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Good Meetings: Purpose

You know this: When work meetings aren’t productive, you run the risk of wasting time and contributing to employee disengagement and unhappiness. The truth is, meetings can be productive; they can even contribute to enhancing employee engagement.

This is the third post in a series of four about how to run better meetings at work. The topics we’re covering are:

Most modern workers have to be in meetings at least some of the time; this series is in part inspired by this podcast that posits ways to turn meetings from sources of dread and drain into sources of productivity and energy.

When I started to study happiness back in 2015, I was struck by the definition used by researchers: Happiness is not just the subjective feeling of joy and/or well-being, it’s that mixed with a sense of purpose, meaning, or that you’re participating in something...

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Family Dinner Disaster: A Conflict Lesson

conflict learning mediation Dec 11, 2019

Learning Moment

The smell of garlic filled the air, tinged with broccoli and melted butter. The floor was slick. Blue, white, and green ceramic shards were everywhere. The silence lasted at least half a minute before my oldest daughter said, “Whoa, that scared me!” She stood next to the open dishwasher. My younger daughter stood next to me, with a stricken look on her face, knowing it was her hand that had knocked the bowl of leftover dinner vegetables from my hand, onto the floor.

My younger daughter had washed her hands and decided to “air dry” them. She had just begun to swing her arms wildly (ah, kids) as I walked into the kitchen carrying multiple dishes with food on them; one of them was the leftover vegetables. My younger daughter’s arm collided with the large serving bowl in my hand, and bam! The bowl hit the floor, along with the broccoli, string beans, garlic, and melted butter.

 

Here’s how I handled it after the initial moment of...

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Kindness Is Awesome

Yesterday was World Kindness Day. Kindness at work is a key to building a happier workforce. What I love about this idea is that it is both intuitive AND supported by tons of research.

Kindness Builds High-Quality Connections 

Jane Dutton researches Positive Organizational Scholarship and cofounded the Center for Positive Organizations in 2002. She talks about high-quality connections on this podcast. A high-quality connection is a short-term interaction with someone that leaves you feeling positive and energized.

It’s those moments you share with a colleague (or whoever) that maybe you don’t know very well, but you exchange a look or share a few comments that leave you feeling that this is a kindred spirit – that this person gets it – that this person gets you.

Hopefully, you share moments like this with friends and loved ones; Dutton’s research focuses on the idea that we all can share these moments with people who are just acquaintances and that...

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New Active Listening Resource!

At Chantilly Mediation and Facilitation, we are all about helping leaders create happier workplaces. Every day, I train managers and leaders on how to resolve conflict, build a happier workforce, and use emotional intelligence at work.

There are several keys to this work, but one of the most basic skills that can serve you well with coworkers, clients, and in your personal life, is active listening.

Active Listening

It’s hard to overstate the importance of an active listening practice at work! Get the guide here .

It’s hard to overstate the importance of an active listening practice at work! Get the guide here.

When I train on active listening, I do a fun exercise where I pair people up, one person gets to tell a story, and the other one has to summarize the story and guess at an emotion expressed during the story - it’s been a hit every time! (So far.)

Active listening because is key to building your empathy muscle, which is key to increasing emotional intelligence, which is basically all about our social interactions as humans. And, yes,...

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Emotions At Work!

I’ve been talking to people a lot recently about empathy – what it is, what our reactions are to it, how can it be helpful – or not.

Many people believe empathy is a good thing, but do not generally give it a lot of thought, particularly when it comes to professional relationships. Whether you work primarily in an office as part of a team, primarily with clients, or primarily on your own, acknowledging that emotions are a part of life and being open to sharing compassion can be hugely beneficial. Even at work!

Compassion & Empathy – What’s the Connection?

Empathy is when we feel, or understand, someone else’s emotion. Compassion is one of the possible responses to empathy; in fact, it’s the goal. When we can see that someone else is in any type of distress – dealing with an emotion we typically think of as “negative” like anger, sadness, grief, disappointment, etc. – compassion is what we’re feeling if...

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Listening is always active.

active listening quotes Sep 13, 2019

I came across a quote about active listening that I absolutely love! Michael Shurtleff, to whom the quote is attributed, was a legendary casting director. He wrote the bible for actors to learn how to audition for roles (it’s called, simply, Audition).

Listening is not merely hearing, it is receiving the message that is being sent to you.

Listening is reacting.

Listening is being affected by what you hear.

Listening is letting it land before you react.

Listening is letting your reaction make a difference.

Listening is active.

This encapsulates everything I believe about the importance of the listener in how we communicate with each other. When we listen to others, our responses should make a difference - even if the only “difference” is that the other person feels understood, truly understood. We do not need to give advice or provide a solution in order to make a difference to someone.

Taking the time to let yourself react, and feel whatever emotions are evoked...

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Mediator Tips: Mitigate Conflict with Collaboration

I’m psyched to bring my Resolve Conflict Now training to BBG’s audience of HR professionals on September 18, 2019, in the comfort of their own offices - not BBG’s offices; this is a webinar anyone can join. It’s also free! Register here.

Part of the 101-level, one-hour webinar will focus on how to build a collaborative workforce. I sum it all up with four keys:

  • Curiosity

  • Kindness

  • Engagement

  • Shared purpose

Let’s take them, briefly, one by one.

Curiosity

Your mindset is always a choice: When you can, choose curiosity. Someone at work is in your face, or didn’t do something they’re supposed to, or did do something they are not supposed to do. Instead of focusing on blame or disappointment, choose to get curious - Why did they behave that way? What might be happening that’s motivating them to do that thing that’s completely awful, in your opinion? Why exactly do you think it is completely awful?

Have a conversation with...

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PERK Up Your Workplace

Updated 9/16/2021

Someone asked me recently what the key is to happiness at work. I follow the PERK formula: Purpose, Engagement, Resilience, and Kindness.

EDIT: I now have a 44-minute webinar that goes into more detail and provides 4 practical tips for everyday use for $100. Check it out!

 Purpose

Feeling happy at work requires knowing your purpose. Purpose has nothing to do with money. It’s not about a paycheck or profits. It’s knowing that what you do makes a difference in the world. Purpose is not necessarily about doing good; the difference may be about social status or power or something relatively insignificant - like - I make things people can store stuff in. Those who can easily connect their purpose to dearly-held personal values are even happier.

If you show up to work just for the paycheck, it’s not necessarily time to find a new job - spend some time thinking about your personal values, about everything you do in your job, and consider ways...

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