How to Slay Your Meeting Killers: One Executive Battled Hot Air with Cold Air
Posted May 17, 2012 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Everyone knows the meeting killers.
There is “the dominator,” the Wall Street Journal notes in an interactive graphic. This person greatly overestimates the value of his or her personal views, disrupts discussion and “induces information overkill.”
Then there is the “naysayer,” who waits to make major objections until after consensus is almost reached. Or the “rambler” who “inflicts death by boredom” with off-topic discussions.
“When it comes time for a meeting, co-workers can be deadly,” the Wall Street Journal says. “Discussions get hijacked. Bad ideas fall like blunt objects. Long-winded colleagues consume all available oxygen, killing good ideas by asphyxiation.”
The story offers some solutions. Corporate trainer Dana Brownlee takes naysayers to lunch before meetings to hear their complaints. Then, during the meetings, she requires anyone with an objection to also offer a solution. Project-management consultant Samir Penkar says he dealt with a couple ramblers by handing them a chocolate each time they started to digress.
Ad-agency executive Bill Shelton recalled a tactic used by one of his bosses. He would set the thermostat at about 50 degrees before meetings and tell participants they had to leave their sweaters at the door. "We had the most efficient, productive meetings in history,” Shelton told the newspaper.