Don’t be the pub bore in your own business meetings! Here’s how to cut to the chaser
We’ve all been in those meetings that have, at the top of the agenda, the speaker’s apparent determination to slowly but surely bore us all to death. It can be soul-crushing, especially when deadlines are involved. The strength of the coffee can’t always keep up with the length of the waffle. Pub Bore.
To be fair, we’ve all run those meetings, too! The reason? I put it down to four key culprits:
Nerves, self-importance, lack of preparation, lack of awareness – available solo or as a combo!
Nobody is immune, it happens to the best of us.
As a result, I’ve now nailed a way to stay focused when speaking and be aware of bad habits that can result in droning on and losing the audience. I teach this method to my clients. I call it Pub Talk. Pub Talk tackles two issues that come up in every business meeting:
1. Inevitable distractions in meetings
In your typical watering hole, there’s multiple unavoidable distractions. The music, the collective hum, kitchen hubbub, TV, music, games, fruit machines – you name it, it’ll grab your attention. Same happens in meetings. Power plays, side-tracking and digital interruptions are three easy examples.
2. Deliberate evasions
In the boozer, if you want to escape a dull chat, there’s opportunities galore to swerve it: drink up and go back to the bar, nip off to the toilet, slide into a side chat across the table. This behaviour has business-meeting energy. In any professional setting there are all kinds of characters who pull focus or push their agenda, as we’ve all experienced.
I coach my clients in Pub Talk to help them describe their business or role. It has to be punchy, slick and engaging – or else you become the Pub Bore. The more words? The more potential for boredom. Which means you’re more likely to lose the listener’s attention.
Explain yourself quickly in a pub or you lose the group’s interest – and your credibility.
So why do people pretend to be listening in a tedious, rambling meeting? Politeness, or the pay, or a lack of ambition, maybe. If your audience kind of looks like they’re mostly listening, don’t be fooled: they might still be bored AF. Ask yourself: are you genuinely holding the room’s attention?
How not to be the pub bore:
Acknowledge the Awkward – Then Move On
Pub meet-ups, like business meetings, can be sticky at first, especially when unfamiliar characters are in the mix or it’s a tricky subject on the table. Give a nod to the awkward – name the elephant in the room – and get down to it.
Cut The Waffle
When you show that you respect other people’s time, they’re always grateful. We live in an attention economy, after all. Don’t waste your colleagues’ and clients’ precious resource with padding. How? Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Have a Clear Story
In 2021, business is all about story – a clear narrative path. Have a predetermined and strongly defined angle and stick to it. You can’t explain everything you know or think about the issue in one meeting; decide what’s important in this instance to these people and stay on track.
It sounds hack and manipulative, but always keep an active eye on your ‘charisma quotient’. Good meetings are like the best parties: full of positive energy, bubbling with ideas, brimming with potential. If you aren’t switched on fully, your ‘guests’ won’t want to stay or give you their best.
When a person telling me their idea or their plan doesn’t fully commit, I die a bit inside. Hold on to your convictions as you present so that we can get behind you (and it). Then get deep with the listening. Offer something strong and then be prepared to course-correct. It’s a powerful combo.
At Clear Ideas, we hate to be the Pub Bore. I want to keep your attention, listen deeply, ask the right questions and learn fast. I keep conversations bite-sized. Last Orders rolls around all too fast. This Clear Idea was a three-minute read. Did we keep your attention?