Do You Know How To Bottom?

Bottom Line that is.

There are few things more agonizing then asking a colleague or employee or even a boss a straight forward questions, and getting an essay response. If you have all been sitting at a meeting for over an hour, why does the person answering the question feel that he has to take 5 min to paraphrase the entire meeting before he can give his answer?

A favored tool in Professional Coaching is Bottom Lining.

The three key elements of Bottom Lining

  1. Share only whats needed
  2. Collect your thoughts
  3. Be succinct

1. Very often in our responses we give way more information than is necessary. If everyone is sitting in a meeting, you can assume that they have been paying attention and don’t need a prelude to every answer. Avoid lead up to answers as much as possible. If the person asking the question want more info they will ask for it.

2. More often than not we ramble because we are trying to think and answer at the same time. Though we often fear silence, you do the asker a favor by taking a moment to quietly collect your thoughts. 10-30 seconds of quiet thinking can shave 1+ minutes of an answer.

3. When it comes time to answer make sure you are clear, concise and to the point. Don’t repeat the same answer in 5 different ways. Give the required information and be succinct. Again if the person asking needs more info they will request it.

How to help others Bottom Line

If you are running meetings this is something you might want to institute.

Bottom lining is not some practice you can just institute and expect it to happen overnight. Like any habit, it requires training, practice and repetition.

Here are some tips

  • Let your team know of your desire to try bottom lining in meetings
  • Explain what it is, its benefits and how it will make the meetings more efficient and effective.
  • Let them know that taking a pause to think before they respond is OK
  • Make it fun. Put a jar on the table and anytime someone is caught being long winded (even the boss) they have to but a dollar in it, to be used for charity or coffee for the team. Or you could give everyone a balloon and if they are caught being long winded they have to blow into it for 5 seconds. This will be a tangible way for them to see how they are coming along.

Make it a great day.

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