Book review: Talk Lean

Ever wondered how you could make meetings more efficient and useful, instead of the waste of time that most of them are?

Well, Alan Palmer might be the man to show you the way. The advertising executive turned trainer details an approach that originated in France by a certain Philippe de Lapoyade.

It promises to help you to listen properly during a meeting, feel able to announce the most ambitious objectives and make effective and actionable requests.

Palmer calls it "The Interactifs Discipline", after the training company for which he works and which champions the de Lapoyade way (the Frenchman was its founder, after all). The core principles of "talking lean", says Palmer, are clarity, directness, simplicity and precision - as well as politeness, calmness, respect and courtesy. It's about "seductive behaviour" that engenders trust and confidence in other people, and "so puts them in an open and receptive frame of mind, ready to allow themselves to be taken in the direction in which you have told them you want to take them". But don't worry - you don't need to be a would-be Don Juan or the Fast Show's Swiss Tony. Being in a meeting is definitely not like making love to a beautiful woman (as Tony would say).

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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