How many times has one of your meetings gone wrong?
When a meeting goes wrong, it’s as if no one is at the meeting at all. Even worse, a bad meeting can damage the group’s effectiveness.
When I’ve seen this happen, I’ve wanted to rewind the tape and see what happened. One minute we’re moving smoothly through the agenda: getting things done, identifying next steps and assigning accountability- then -somehow the meeting becomes dangerous, it becomes an emotional mind field.
Here are the top three warning signs that your meeting is going wrong.
- Too much talking not enough listening
Silence: Often you can see people in the meeting shut down. When you look at them they are often sitting back in the chair, arms crossed, eyes anywhere but on another person. They have ‘given up’ contributing. This is because it has become unsafe to express an opinion. Do not kid yourself that they have nothing to say….they do. It’s just not safe. They’re vulnerable.
Too much talking and not enough listening. People often interrupt each other with their comments and the comment they add is not related to the point just made. They’ve been storing the it up …just waiting for the ‘pause’ in the conversation..or worst they simply interrupt. Watch who interrupts who in the meeting, it can reveal so much about the perceived political hierarchy.
Repetition: You might notice some people in the meeting simply repeating their point …often verbatim. Sometime it can seem like they are in a foreign country…repeating the phrase slower and louder. They feel as if they are not being heard. They don’t want to ‘lose’ and are being more forceful [dominant].
But you only have to worry about these things IF the dynamic and emotional health of the group is important to you. Otherwise…arrive with your agenda, push others to silence, keep talking and repeat what you want over and over again. You’ll be amazed at how fast the meetings can go.
Next: What to do if you notice any of these 3 Warning Signs!