For some perplexing human reason many people seem to tolerate top-down, long, pointless meetings.

Sometimes it’s easier to go with the flow, while others have given up: “it’s how things work 'round here”.

As a leader, your natural instincts won’t accept mediocrity. Time is precious. How can you positively influence meetings?

The best way to contribute to any meeting is by asking an open question. Then W.A.I.T. (Why Am I Talking?) before asking another. Invite others to ask too.

Next, if you feel the need to share your opinion, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has three simple thought bubbles to ask yourself BEFORE you open your gob:

1. Does my thought need to be said?

2. Does my thought need to be said by me?

3. Does my thought need to be said by me, now?

If the answer to all three questions is a definitive YES, then speak.

If not, keep your trap shut (my words). Only ever speak if asking a non-judging question (as described earlier).

Third, observe the room. Don’t just listen for words. What is the behaviour, tone and body language telling you? What has been “unsaid”?

So, at your next pointless meeting, ONLY speak to ask an OPEN and HELPFUL question.

See what happens...what have you got to lose?

Enjoy and I hope life’s great, Bruce