The Business of Meetings –Episode 136- How to Leverage Human Connections with Riaz Meghji
Today we are delighted to be speaking with Riaz Meghji, the author of Every Conversation Counts!
Riaz has had a fascinating career! He switched from being a broker to speaking about human connections. He has worked on TV and radio and is also a podcaster and TEDx speaker. He joins us today to tell his story, talk about human connection and share his insights and advice.
We hope you enjoy listening to today’s enlightening conversation with Riaz Meghji!
Riaz Meghji is a human connection expert and author of “Every Conversation Counts: The 5 Habits of Human Connection That Build Extraordinary Relationships”. His insights have been featured in Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and Financial Post.
He is also an accomplished broadcaster with 17 years of television hosting experience; he has interviewed experts on current affairs, sports, entertainment, politics, and business.
Riaz has hosted for Citytv’s Breakfast Television, MTV Canada, TEDxVancouver, CTV News, and the Toronto International Film Festival. He is a natural storyteller with a proven ability to conduct engaging, in-depth conversations across various disciplines.
Off camera, Riaz dedicates himself to philanthropy and causes he cares about, including Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and Covenant House. He holds a degree in business from Simon Fraser University and studied leadership communication at Harvard Extension School and the Canadian Management Centre.
He lives in Vancouver, B.C., with his wife Lori and son Nico.
Riaz’s family moved from East Africa to Canada. Twenty years ago, Riaz deviated from his career in finance, took a leap of faith, and followed his passion in the presentation space. Since then, he has interviewed thousands of people as a television host and broadcaster. He has learned something from every conversation!
The power of human connection has always intrigued Riaz. He now lives a life of purpose, exploring how to build personal and professional relationships.
From finance to becoming a presenter
While in the final semester of his finance degree, Riaz did a presentation at an international student organization conference. Afterward, the co-chair took him aside and convinced him that he had something to offer in the presentation space. That person’s belief in his potential opened Riaz’s eyes to the life he wanted to live. A few months later, he landed his first internship with MTV in Canada.
Riaz advises people to find a coach and remain coachable. Listen to what they say, and also listen to your intuition.
Avoid becoming complacent because complacency cultivates mediocrity.
A beginner’s mindset
Riaz entered the craft of presenting intending to retain a beginner’s mindset and being his authentic self. A beginner’s mindset is about staying open, finding people you respect, and asking them for feedback.
Make all your contributions to the best of your ability at any given moment. Have the courage and humility to ask for help. That will push your forward as a speaker or when pursuing something you feel passionate about.
If you are looking for a mentor, find someone who is committed and cares about you.
Be intentional about connecting with others. Then strive to be consistent in your behavior until it becomes habitual.
Connecting with others in hybrid meetings
As a leader in hybrid meetings, you are managing energy and people. Everyone has their own expectations, so be intentional about checking in with people consistently and getting their feedback.
When people with cultural differences get together in a meeting, it’s vital for leaders to use empathetic curiosity and ask questions to understand how people show up and react.
Sometimes, people take honesty the wrong way. That could create a sense of distance. That’s why it is necessary to earn credibility and trust before being vulnerable and sharing your thoughts honestly.
Use empathetic curiosity to build trust in a new relationship. Start the conversation with questions that allow the other person to reflect, open up, and share. After that, check in with them consistently to show you care.
Leaders should consistently provide and receive a steady stream of feedback. Use consistent praise or constructive criticism to let people know that you are invested in their growth and progress.
Brainstorming sessions are helpful. They also create opportunities for employees to share their input.
As a leader, make yourself accessible so that employees know they can always reach you if they need help.
Speakers need to consider their audience when preparing for a presentation. Riaz believes that the best speakers are the best listeners. So he always tries to understand his audience to provide them with maximum value and a memorable experience.
Riaz likes to interview leaders who can participate live on stage in his sessions to role model how to make the experience interactive. Then he allows audience members to share stories about their defining moments.
Storytelling is crucial to convey information with emotion. Storytelling also helps the audience interact and lean into what the speaker has to say.
Rehearsing is a crucial part of any presentation. It helps to speak out loud and anticipate questions you may be asked.
Communicating to strengthen human connection
It is important to understand the context in which the people you are communicating with prefer to respond. Ask them how they like to communicate (text, email, or video, for example) when they like to communicate, and how often they prefer to communicate. Then, ask for suggestions so everyone feels like part of the process.
Sending daily voice notes will add a personal touch, show people that you care, and promote loyalty.
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