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In theory, meetings should be small enough so attendees could be fed with two large pizzas to discourage Groupthink and HiPPO, (‘Highest Paid Person’s Opinion’).
Virtual meetings have necessitated (mostly) a reduced number of attendees: “I’m sorry, you go…”/ “No sorry, I was just saying..”/ “What were you saying?”/ “Sorry, we missed that” / “Did you say something?”. Six people suddenly speak at once. Silence. Repeat.
Now that many of us are starting to return to the office, increasingly in-person meetings are going to become part of our daily lives once again. And I am looking forward to it. We are hardwired to pick up on the subtle conversational nuances of hand gestures, facial expressions, posture and even physical touch like a handshake. Body language is an indispensable part of communication.
Smaller meetings can generate a feeling of intimacy which often leads to bolder and franker discussions. Fewer participants also mean more time to listen to and consider another perspective. In turn, the group members feel heard and respected, making them more productive.
So, when you are invited to that in-person meeting, (apart from eating the pizza), what can you do to make an impact?
But, with all the excitement of actually being with real people once again, don’t hog the floor. Be a thought-leader – articulate your expertise and express your point of view, but don’t try to be the smartest person in the room – you don’t want arrogance to be your most memorable trait.