Soapbox’s Jessica Weisz says making meetings “more human” builds trust at #TechTO

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For Jessica Weisz, chief customer officer at SoapBox, being “more human” at business meetings is a priority.

At the latest TechToronto, Weisz talked about how members of the startup community should work on being more honest, truthful, and human during business meetings.

Weisz kicked-off her presentation by touching on her personal experiences at work meetings. “I used to lie in meetings,” said Weisz. “I wasn’t human in meetings. Essentially what I mean was that in meetings, I didn’t share my thoughts. If I thought something was wrong or stupid. I didn’t often say it and that means I wasn’t being Jess, and so I wasn’t bringing my full self to bear.”

Weisz gave the TechTO crowd examples of two types of meetings, where people are likely to shy away from sharing their thoughts: team meetings and one-one-one meetings.

When it comes to group meetings, Weisz stressed how people generally attend meetings only to find themselves listening to the speaker, but not sharing their feeback and ideas when they disagree with something.

“It was amazing to see the difference because everybody had shared their thoughts.”

“Somebody’s talking about what they’re working on…and I’ve found myself thinking hmm..I don’t know if I agree,” said Weisz about how she used to act in meetings. “I look around the room and I see nobody saying anything. I don’t want to look stupid but I also don’t want to insult them so I’ll just be quiet.”

When it comes to one-on-one meetings, Weisz said people are often nervous to speak up about their personal emotions, anxieties, or opinions with coworkers and bosses. She suggested that instead of limiting what thoughts you share, it’s important for people to share and commit to changing how they interact with others during meetings.

“It was amazing to see the difference in where we could land as a team because everybody had shared their thoughts,” said Weisz. “In my one-on-one’s, I started to share my emotions as well. My fears, my frustrations, my anxieties, and with my boss, my manager, we were able to solve the problems that we thought were most important and together build a stronger relationship, build trust. It was amazing.”

“What habits keep you from sharing your voice and building trust? What keeps you from being your best in meetings?”
 

For people who are nervous about expressing opinions, Weisz suggested doing personal reflection on what’s stopping you from sharing thoughts with coworkers.

“The key lesson is around creating habits that encourage everyone to share their voice and build trust,” said Weisz. “I want you to do some introspection. What habits keep you from sharing your voice and building trust? What keeps you from being your best in meetings? What keeps you from saying the truth?”

Overall, Weisz stressed changing how people interact during meetings will ultimately improve the culture and productivity in one’s work environment.

“We have the opportunity to really change the way we work, but also set the stage for everyone else and so the others can follow suit,” said Weisz.

Watch the full presentation below:

The next TechTO takes place on July 10. Get your tickets now!

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.