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Reporting in a Meeting? Three Tips to Go from 'Deadly' to Delightful

Feb 25, 2014

Posted by

Carla Cross

About Carla Cross, CRB, MA International speaker, trainer, and coach specializing in career development, business planning, brokerage management, leadership, and instructor development. What sets Read more

Have you ever been at a meeting that was absolutely painful to sit through? I just experienced that, and I could hardly wait until it was over. But, with a few guidelines, no meeting need be pain-provoking!

Tip: These guidelines work, too, for any presentation.

I’m Only Giving My Report—I Don’t Have to Have any Presentation Skills….

Why should you read this? You aren’t a professional speaker. You don’t even do presentations. You just give reports. You don’t need any public speaking skills. That’s what you think!  There are presentation strategies for giving reports, and, when you don’t know them or use them, the example is a painful experience for the attendees. So, whether you’re an agent, a manager, an assistant, it doesn’t matter. When you get up in front of people—even for a report—you owe it to your audience to be professional.

Why Prepare to Make a Report?

As with many meetings, this painful meeting consisted of reports from 8 different people. Now, I know most people regard giving a report as getting up and reading the 3-10 items on their report. Not! You need to prepare for that meeting—whether or not you are a professional speaker.

The 3 Deadly Sins in Giving those Reports—and the Remedies

  1. A deadly start

In this meeting, two of the 5 reporters started with ‘so’. In fact, I counted 25 ‘sos’ in one of the reports!  One of the reporters kept saying that she was not prepared because she didn’t know she didn’t have another meeting to lead after this one. Who cares?

The remedies:

Start your report without the ‘so’, the ‘uh’, or any of the filler words. Practice your first few words. Make sure they lay out what you’re going to report in a concise, friendly manner.

Stop the excuses; the audience doesn’t care! Avoid ‘we got a lot to cover’, ‘I haven’t much time’, or ‘I’m not prepared’.

2.   Taking too much time

The remedy:

Practice your report and ‘time’ it. Then, add ½ more time. Why? Because you have to get set up and ready, you may have audience questions or interruptions, etc. No one ever shot the speaker for finishing early…..

3.  Wandering around in a vast wasteland of information

The remedy:

Write out your major points. There should be no more than 3-5. Practice not wandering off your point. Speak in concise sentences, with commas, not periods!  

Ask yourself: What do you want the audience to remember? Make these points memorable. Leave out the rest!

If you have more to say and no more time, make a handout with all the information.

Train Everyone to Make Better Reports

If you’re in management or in charge of any meeting of any time, your attendees will love you a lot more if you coaching your meeting participants in the 3 areas above. You’ll get better attendance, a more attentive audience, and will create a much more pleasurable meeting!

What are your pet peeves in meetings?