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Group meetings present a major opportunity to use your power and influence skills positively. You can direct a group’s concentrated attention toward your objectives in a relatively short period of time. You can address issues or objections in front of all concerned parties. Your investment of time and energy in preparing for and participating in meetings has a high potential return.

Group meetings also present risks in using your power and influence skills positively. You may have difficulty achieving your goals.  In groups, many complex interactions occur that you may not be able to anticipate or control. Time and space limitations may restrict your ability to maneuver. Person-to-person skills that work well in two-person meetings sometimes fail in groups. People tend to adapt their individual behavior to group norms, making personal contact difficult to establish.

It is unrealistic to avoid meetings if you hope to widen the scope of your influence within your organization and to heighten the impact of your personal power. Your success as a professional depends on your ability to interact with a variety of people at all organizational levels. You are probably expected to attend meetings; working in groups may be part of your job description. Perhaps your primary contact with important people in your organization occurs in meetings.

The effective use of influence skills can help you minimize risk and allow you to take actions appropriate to your skill level. You will be better able to manage the meeting process and gain support from others. At the very least, you will find that taking an active part in meetings will make them more interesting.

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