Managing Monsters in Meetings - Part 7, Personal Attacks

Written by Steve Kaye

Personal attacks hurt people, mar communication, and end creativity. If they become part of a meeting's culture, they driverepparttar participants into making safe and perhaps useless contributions.

Approach 1: Speak torepparttar 135546 group

Setrepparttar 135547 stage forrepparttar 135548 group to enforce its culture by making a general comment. Look atrepparttar 135549 middle ofrepparttar 135550 group and say:

"Just a moment. Let's pause here to calm down. I can tell we're upset about this. And we want to find a fair solution for everyone." (Take slow deep breaths and relax to model calming down.)

After saying this, pause a moment to letrepparttar 135551 group respond. Often, someone else will support your request. Then continue as if everything were normal.

Avoid looking atrepparttar 135552 attacker when speaking torepparttar 135553 group. Making eye contact acknowledges and returns power torepparttar 135554 attacker.

Approach 2: Explore forrepparttar 135555 cause

Sometimes people throw insults from behind a fence of presumed safety. You can disrupt this illusion by saying:

"Chris, you seem upset with that."

"Pat, you seem to disagree."

"You seem to have reservations about this."

I realize these statements may sound like naive responses to an insult. However, such understated responses improverepparttar 135556 situation because they sound less threatening, feel easier to deliver, and preserverepparttar 135557 other person's self-esteem. Realizerepparttar 135558 attacker may have viewedrepparttar 135559 attack less seriously than it sounded.

These statements also transferrepparttar 135560 focus fromrepparttar 135561 target torepparttar 135562 attacker's feelings. And this is what you need to talk about in order to resolverepparttar 135563 dispute.

Managing Monsters in Meetings - Part 1, General Strategies for Unproductive Behavior

Written by Steve Kaye

It happens easily. You're conducting a meeting and suddenly a small side meeting starts. Then someone introduces an unrelated issue. Someone else ridiculesrepparttar new issue. Everyone laughs, exceptrepparttar 135545 person who mentionedrepparttar 135546 idea. Then someone insultsrepparttar 135547 person who toldrepparttar 135548 joke. Two people stand up and walk out. Others complain thatrepparttar 135549 meeting is a waste of time.

Now, what do you do?

And how do you prevent this sort of thing from happening?

Or what could you have done to stop it once it started?

Here are basic strategies for dealing with unproductive behavior in meetings.

Respect other people. Always treat others with respect, even if they are doing things that seem wrong. Their "bad" behavior could be based on many things, such as a lack of skill, a misunderstanding, or a response to a threat. It could also be a simple mistake. Or maybe they're expressing an indirect warning, complaint, or cry of pain. If you respond with disrespect, such as with a counterattack, you will make a bad situation worse. They will either retreat, which means they stop contributing to your meeting, or they will retaliate, which can escalate to an argument that ruins your meeting.

Ask questions. Use questions to find out what is really happening. For example, when someone introduced a new issue, you could have responded by saying, "That sounds interesting, and I wonder how that relates to what we are working on." Notice that this is a neutral, gentle question. It is not a trick question like, "What are your trying to do, ruin my meeting?" and it is not a command like, "Hey, stick torepparttar 135550 topic." Both of these (hostile) responses putrepparttar 135551 other person in an awkward position, which is a form of disrespect.

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