3 Signs a Meeting is Getting Emotional & Solutions

Last week I posted about how emotions affect decision making and can get in the way of critically thinking. In a corporate setting, it may be difficult to know when emotions are running high enough that you should intervene. So here are 3 warning signs a meeting is getting emotional.
  1. People begin to get animated.
  2. People interrupt others to offer their thoughts & opinions.
  3. People get defensive.
If you notice any of these behaviors during a meeting, what do you do?
Look at your watch and wonder how much longer you have to sit through this?
Get out your blackberry & check your e-mails?
Here are a few of my suggestions on how you can intervene & help things get back on track:
  • Bring it back to an objective conversation. Say something like, “let me see if I understand the situation/what everyone is saying” and then objectively summarize what’s going on.
  • Acknowledge the fact that people are getting upset. Say something like, “I can tell this is very important to you. Can you tell me what you’re concerned about?/Can you explain what you’re worried about?”
  • Take a break but leave things on a positive note. Say something like, “A lot of great ideas are being shared. Why don’t we take a break/move on to the next topic. Why don’t we think about (a focused objective) for our next meeting?”

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Elizabeth Pauker-Silva

One response to “3 Signs a Meeting is Getting Emotional & Solutions”

  1. Mark A. Griffin

    Your forgot to mention that you can tell when it is getting heated up by the volume of furniture being thrown! All kidding aside, I have learned that the lack of an agenda, and clear cut goals and objectives in a meeting will also help fuel the fire, it makes it to easy for participants to deviate onto their own agendas. Great blog post, on a all to real real topic!

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