#053: The Leader’s Role as Arbiter and Judge—Five Important Tips

One of the roles that befall you as a leader is that of arbiter and judge. You may not like it, but not liking it won’t make the role go away.

Judge, Arbiter, Bible

Employees will come to you with issues representing various opinions, and you will need to make a decision as to which is the right answer, or the preferred course of action. Customers may look to you as the arbiter in settling a customer service issue.

The book of Exodus recounts the story of Moses executing his role as the judge for the Israelite people (Exodus 18:13-26). The Scripture says Moses took his seat to serve as judge, and the people stood around him from morning to night as Moses judged between them. As judge, Moses was responsible for deciding between the parties, and giving them God’s decrees and instructions.

Can you imagine? Scholars estimate there were 2.5 – 3.5 million Israelites following Moses out of Egypt on their way to the Promised Land. You think you’ve got problems? Imagine being the sole judge for the population of a city somewhere between the size of Chicago and Los Angeles!

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#052: Six Tips for Delivering Your Next Best-Ever Presentation

Delivering a speech or a presentation to a large audience can be pretty intimidating. Public speaking is often listed in the top 10 things people fear the most, usually second only to the fear of snakes!

Presentation, Speaking

Whether you love public speaking or dread the thought, chances are good that at some point you will be called on to make a presentation or deliver a speech to a large audience. It is impossible in the space of this blog to cover anything but the barest essentials for delivering a knock-out presentation, but using these tips will at least get you pointed in the right direction!

(Last week we covered Seven Steps to Developing Your Next Best-Ever Presentation so if you missed that one you might want to go back and read it for pointers on developing your presentation.)

Here are six tips you can use to help you prepare to deliver your next best-ever presentation!

1) It’s not about you! There are three elements to every presentation or speech: the message, the audience, and you. Of these three, the least important is you!

2) Fix your attitude! Your attitude comes across in your delivery, so make sure your attitude reflects confidant assurance. If you project fear or apprehension your audience will sense it in the first few words.

3) Rehearse, rehearse, and then rehearse some more. Rehearse in an environment that allows you the freedom to practice as though you were about to go on stage. I used to practice standing up using the kitchen island as a podium. Then I borrowed a board room where there was a podium. I practiced movements, breathing, pausing, everything the way I would want to do it when it was live. Yes, it may seem corny to practice out-loud, moving your arms, and walking around, but it is amazing how much your mind will remember when it comes time, and it will seem all the more natural.

4) Edit and fine tune. As you practice in your “make believe live” setting you’ll probably need to do some more editing on your script. Some things don’t sound the same, as they read on paper.

5) Vocal Stuff. Studies say 38% of communication is the tone of voice. Keep in mind that you must speak loudly enough to be heard, clearly enough to be understood, and slowly enough for the audience to stay with you. The five elements of vocal expression that you can manipulate to deliver the desired effect include: volume, pitch, rate, articulation, and quality. Volume – loud or soft for emphasis. Pitch – vary but stay in mid ranges most of the time. Rate – speed up to excite and slow down to emphasize. Articulation – speak clearly with your full voice breathing from your core. Quality – you can be throaty, nasal, or resonant. The quality of voice needed varies with the audience.

6) Non-Vocal Stuff. Studies says 55% of communication is body language! This is why it is so important to rehearse your non-verbal expressions as much as you do the verbal. There are many non-verbal techniques you can employ, but whatever you choose make them seem natural, and avoid any that seem forced or unnatural.

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#051: Seven Steps to Developing Your Next Best-Ever Presentation

I tend to be a pretty linear thinker, so when I’ve been called on to craft a presentation or speech for a larger audience I’ve started by writing the introduction, and then plod along writing my way through to the end.

Writing Presentation

Sometimes I would get a little more sophisticated by building an outline of my speech, and then go back and fill in the gaps. Perhaps because of my years of sales training most of my presentations accomplished the desired result. But not all. In fact, some of what I thought was my best and greatest work failed to deliver the action that I wanted from my audience. What could possibly have gone wrong?!

While I was in seminary, I had the occasion to read several books on preaching (seems important that someone in ministry learn how to preach). Suddenly a light went on, and I realized that those presentations that didn’t deliver failed, because in reality, they were not crafted with the audience in mind. Preaching, by its very nature, is designed with the audience in mind. One thing the best preachers have in common is a knack for building sermons that resonate with the audience because they are crafted with the audience in mind!

Obviously developing a sermon is very different than developing a presentation for your company. But, the process used to develop a sermon combined with some solid selling techniques may be just what you need to deliver break-through.

Here are seven steps to guide the development of your next, best-ever, presentation:

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#050: Four Keys to Make Your Next Meeting the Most Productive One Ever!

Anyone who has sat through one or two days of meetings knows they are as physically exhausting as playing five sets of tennis. As for decisions being made in meetings I’ve found full grown adults can’t even agree whether they want chocolate donuts with pink frosting or pink donuts with chocolate frosting!

Business Meeting, Productive

Whether you like meetings or view them with disdain, meetings are here to stay. Peter Drucker wrote in The Effective Executive,

“We meet because people holding different jobs have to cooperate to get a specific task done. We meet because the knowledge and experience needed in a specific situation are not available in one head, but have to be pieced together out of the knowledge and experience of several people.”

Making your company’s meetings more productive will require planning, training, and tenacity. But it can be done! Here are four steps to get you started.

#1 – Pre-Planning

Remember your English teacher and the guidelines for writing a story; Who, What, Where, When, and How? Planning for a productive meeting is much the same, just change the order a bit.

  • What do you want to accomplish? Is the meeting purpose educational, problem solving, or systems control? The purpose of the meeting and the meeting objective are the most important factors to consider when planning for a productive meeting.
  • How do you expect to accomplish the meeting objective? Based on the meeting purpose, what is the best way to accomplish the meeting objective?
  • Who must be in attendance? Make sure the necessary people are in attendance before you consider inviting the “nice to have” people.
  • When does the meeting need to be convened? Is there a problem or other time-driven issue that dictates the meeting time?
  • Where should the meeting be held? Conference rooms are nice for short meetings, but consider off-site locations when a whole day or more is needed.

#2 – Agenda Development

Developing a solid, focused agenda is a necessary element of the meeting planning process. Begin by establishing the agenda with input from the team, craft the agenda allowing adequate time for the topics to be covered and needed breaks, then and only then, distribute the agenda to the team along with instructions for pre-work that needs to be completed.

  • Develop a preliminary agenda based on the meeting purpose.
  • Craft the final agenda leaving time for two short breaks every four hours plus a non-working lunch, and or dinner, as appropriate.
  • Detail in the agenda any pre-work that needs to be completed. Forward the completed agenda to the attendees with plenty of lead time so they can thoroughly prepare for the meeting.

#3 – Meeting Operations

Learning to run a productive meeting will take time and effort. Here are nine guidelines to get you started:

  • Room Layout. Layout should facilitate accomplishment of the meeting purpose.
  • Start Time. Always start exactly on time.
  • Opening. The opening is critical since it sets the tone of the meeting.
  • Meeting Principles. Meetings should also have rules. Rules for meetings can be different depending on the meeting purpose.
  • Parking Lot. Use a flip chart to make note of parking lot issues and circle back to them as time permits or need dictates.
  • Scribe. Appoint someone to document key points of the meeting. This should include agenda topics, decisions made, persons responsible, follow-up steps needed, etc.
  • Facilitator. Appoint a facilitator who will make sure that the meeting principles are followed.
  • Timekeeper. Appoint someone to keep track of the meeting schedule. If a topic is really important you may choose to extend the time and modify other elements of the agenda.
  • Meeting Close. Conclude the meeting on-time. Review the meeting objective and key points of agenda items. Focus on results achieved and follow-up work to be completed.

#4 – Meeting Follow-Up

There is still work to be done after the meeting is over:

  • Meeting Evaluation. Evaluate the meeting in terms of effectiveness and productivity. Make notes on what worked well, and what needs improvement.
  • Meeting Notes. Review the meeting notes from the scribe for completeness and accuracy. Distribute to attendees and other parties as appropriate immediately after the meeting.

One Final Thought

Paul, writing to the Corinthians, provided instructions for the orderly worship of God. He stressed that words must be for the edification of the body, and that only one person should speak at a time. Concluding these instruction he wrote, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:32).

There are many Biblical examples that highlight the importance of an organized approach to work. One of my favorites is depicted when Jesus feeds the 5,000 by organizing the people into groups, having the disciples hand out food, and then having them pick up the leftovers (Mark 6).

There is no reason for the meetings we run to be an unproductive mass of confusion. We can, with a little thought and planning, prepare ourselves and our employees to run meetings productively.

Bonus Material

These four action steps will get you started on the path to making your meetings more productive, but if you want to take your meeting productivity to the next level I encourage you to download the attached whitepaper. In this whitepaper, I expand on the four action steps and cover:

  • Six reasons meetings are not only here to stay, but more important than ever.
  • Nine primary purposes of meetings.
  • Why it is important to think of meetings as an asset.
  • A case study based on a meeting I attended.
  • Meeting Notes that provide an outline of how you can train your own team on meeting productivity.
  • And finally, a fun look at 15 common meeting problem people and how to recognize them in your next meeting!

Click here to download this bonus whitepaper:  Make Your Next Meeting Your Most Productive Meeting Ever!

Join the Conversation!

As always questions and comments are welcome! Have your struggled to make meetings productive in your organization? What have you found works well?

Category: Skills | Leadership Development