6 Things You Should Never Say in a Meeting Even If You’re In a Salty Mood
You can ruin the mood.
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Meetings are making a comeback, at least if my visits to several companies lately are any indication. They have now become brainstorming sessions, working meetings (laptops open and at the ready), and a time to build relationships. They are way more interactive than I recall from my days in the corporate world. And quite lively. Even if you hate meetings, there's nothing quite like a group of smart people getting together to find workarounds to problems.
Sadly, one salty comment can ruin the mood. If even you had a terrible commute or woke up on the wrong side of your bagel sandwich, avoid saying these phrases in a group setting.
1. "You're wrong..."
Let's start with an obvious one. Shutting people down--saying they're wrong--is such a boneheaded move. Maybe the facts are wrong, but usually meetings are about sharing opinions and developing a strategy. Come up with a better idea, but never call someone out as wrong.
2. "Let's table this..."
Meetings are meant for, you know--meeting. If someone mentions a topic, avoid using the expression "let's table this" since you are actually at a table. It's better to explain why a new rabbit trail is not productive, then continue down that path if everyone else want to proceed.
3. "I understand what you're saying but..."
Healthy discussions are almost always about concessions. If you want to come to resolutions, agree to at least part of what someone is saying. (Maybe it means asking the person to explain a bit more.) If you say you understand someone, then totally disagree with everything they say, it's going to lead to a argument.
4. "Everyone here disagrees with you..."
Peer pressure works fine in high school. In business, it's a bit immature to think that someone is wrong only because everyone else disagrees. It's better to come up with sound reasoning and, like I mentioned, find some common ground. If you look hard enough, you'll find it.
5. "You're foolish..."
You might be in a salty mood, but name-calling and broad claims about someone's state of mind or intellect won't lead to any consensus. It puts people on edge. If you disagree with an idea, focus on the specifics and avoid making general claims about the other person.
6. "The boss doesn't like the idea..."
I hate this one, because it's such an old and outdated version of the boss--e.g., someone who is always right. In a modern office, all ideas should carry equal weight. Mentioning the boss just makes it seem like you don't have a good argument. You just know who signs the checks.