Have you ever been in a meeting where a man just leaves? Maybe he doesn’t leave, but his enthusiasm wanes. Do you have trouble getting participation from men on your team? Consider the problem may be as simple as the difference between how men and women communicate and produce results effectively.
For women to be at our best, we need to connect with each other. We feel safe, seen and heard when we spend time checking in with the people around us. You might notice that at the start of every meeting you socialize. A quick “How’s the family?” or “What new adventure have you been on lately?” We schmooze. And at some point, someone in charge (possibly you) wrangles everyone’s attention to start. Women are at our best after that type of association: We feel an affinity for those around us and we’re ready to get to work.
Unfortunately, it’s not this way for men. For men to be at their best, they need to produce results. For them, the point of a meeting is not to schmooze, but rather, get down to business. What causes that safety women feel in connection is only caused by uninterrupted producing, strategizing and planning. When settling into business doesn’t happen quickly, when the point of the meeting is thwarted by idle conversation, they lose momentum, focus, and energy. The minutia of the check-in literally kills their drive, brilliant ideas and ability to do strategic planning.
Do you want more out of your team? Offer them an optional pre-conference check-in starting 15-20 minutes before your scheduled meeting time. Tell your attendees, “If you want to say hello to the team, show up in the conference room at 10:40. Business starts promptly at 11.”
And try not to laugh out loud when you see the women trickling in just after 10:40 and the men showing up at 10:58.