Meetings are about more than just Robert’s Rules of Order, they are about getting work done! During a board meeting, the difference between a motion passing or a motion failing is often decided by the quality and content of debate. How many times have you sat in a meeting listening to people drone on and on, yet you have no idea about what they want you to do?
This happens because debating during a meeting is difficult for most people because most people dislike, fear and even loathe the idea of getting up in front of a group of people to speak. Public speaking is the #1 fear in the nation and there are few environments more public than a meeting. In this video professional speaker Susan Leahy shares a simple three step process that will support you in debating powerfully when you speak up in your next meeting.
In Susan’s live trainings and Webinars she teaches clients to:
#1. Restate the Motion
At the begining of your debate start by restating the motion that you are about to debate. This ensures that the members of the board are on the same page and know exactly what topic you are talking about. Starting your debate by restating the motion creates focus that will support how people are able to listen.
#2. Give Your Opinions
When I debate I try to make no more then three points at a time. Your debate can sound something like this:
“Regarding the main motion to approve the purchase of 7 new iPhones for members of the E-Board it is my opinion that:
#3. Tell People How You Want Them To Vote
It seems obvious, but this is a crucial last step in the process. Have you ever watched someone debate and then they sit down and you still aren’t sure how they want you to vote? As a board member you are there to influence as well as to be influenced, and the best way to influence the direction of a meeting is to influence how people vote. At the end of your debate be clear about your intention and state very clearly how you want your fellow board members to vote:
“With that said I encourage you to vote in favor of the main motion."
“With that said I encourage you to vote the main motion down."
What is so great about this simple last step is that it gives you a place to end your debate. In fact it will earn you more respect if you end your debates strongly.
TIP: If during your debate you get lost you go immediately to step #3. People remember the beginning and the end of your presentation more than what you said in the middle. If you have a strong ending that directs the action of your fellow board members you can salvage a less than perfect argument.
Susan Leahy MA (a loving, powerful,committed woman)
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