Great meeting..but were we really listening?

Ashokk N Menon
July 18, 2024

Think back to the last lecture you attended.

If it was long enough, you probably noticed somebody in the audience who was clearly not paying attention but continued to nod along anyway.

You’ve probably even been this person at some point.

This person scrolls on their phone, or doodles on their notepad, or otherwise 'checks out' during the speech.

Yet, picking up on social cues from both the speaker and fellow audience members, this person can nod along in all the right places.

Now shift gears with me.

Instead of a lecture hall, imagine a breakout room (or perhaps a Zoom call).

You’re pitching your carefully-thought out strategy to a half-dozen people on your client’s team.

Your presentation is flawless.

Your diction, clear.

Your forecasts, well researched and accurate.

Everyone’s nodding along.

So, imagine your surprise, when, still awash in the happy glow of the meeting, you open your laptop to find an email from a stakeholder…

And it contradicts everything you just laid out.

You want to scream.

“Were they even listening!?!?”

But before you schedule another meeting, ask yourself something: “Was I even listening to them?

Remember, procurement projects often bring major changes to an organization.

So, while you worked hard on your presentation, your stakeholders might actually be thinking asking themselves the following while they nod along with you:

What’s in it for me?

What should I be worried about here?

How will this make me look to my boss?

How will this impact my daily workflow?

And a whole host of other questions.

Questions that you’ll never know the answer to…...Unless you ask.

So, the next time you’re standing in front of a room of stakeholders, take sometime to find out what they’re thinking before you start pitching your solution.

They’ll like you for taking the time to get to know them.

They’ll respect you for digging deeper.

And they’ll be on board with your solutions.

About the Author
Ashokk N Menon

For more than 20 years, Ashok has led procurement both in industry and as a consultant. In executing over 100 projects for global brands, he discovered a passion for developing the talents of people early in their procurement careers and unlocking significant benefits for companies and executives