How to Recover and Regroup After a Soul-Sucking Meeting

You probably know what it’s like to have a meeting that makes you feel worse after it’s over, as though you’ve accomplished less for attending than if there had been no meeting at all. You aren’t clear on your next steps, attendees are frustrated, communications were cloudy, tense, or worse, or maybe even some of the primary stakeholders weren’t even in attendance. How do you overcome what just happened and preserve relationships? Do you meet again, continue to take up more valuable time, or suffer in silence with questions and confusion, potentially delaying projects and eroding relationships?

Communicate, but don’t challenge
If you are encountering a person in a meeting who demonstrates behavior patterns that are perpetually distracting or disruptive, it’s not usually the wisest idea to challenge him or her directly as this will typically place them in a defensive posture and tends to escalate matters. However, not addressing the issue at all can be frustrating for the rest of the team, so focusing on the behavior rather than the person is generally a satisfactory middle ground to begin positive conversations. Suggesting improvements to the process that can structure the conversation or changing the format for attendee contribution from verbal to written ones such as interactive chat or asking attendees to use iMeet’s Evernote collaboration feature are just two ways you can diffuse an overbearing attendee.

Also, use common sense, common courtesy and common meeting ground rules as a neutral judge‚ some of these would include only one person talks at a time, all viewpoints are valid, and meetings start and end on time unless all attendees agree otherwise.

Connect to reach true consensus

No, you don’t have to have a meeting about the meeting. But as the facilitator, a quick call or email if you’re confused is not only appropriate, but likely welcome. If you aren’t clear on next steps, chances are that there are also a few others on your team who aren’t clear either. If consensus is difficult or appears impossible, participants and leaders often become frustrated and will resort to other methods of decision-making, including the following:

  • Autocratic decisions
    When a decision is made by one person and should instead be made by the group, though it’s faster, you may not get the support from your team you may have hoped for in the long run. Avoid this by building consensus throughout your conversations that everyone can support.
  • Voting
    Again, though voting is a quick an easy way to reach a decision, and it does have the distinct advantage of including all group members , it fails to allow for discussing more nuanced aspects of the subject and, quite frankly, no one likes to lose, so opportunities for compromise are lost in this all-or-nothing option. However, voting can be a good alternative if attendees would like to be represented anonymously in the decision-making process.
  • Groupthink
    Groupthink feels good. It sounds good. At first. Everyone in the meeting quickly agrees to the idea or solution, but someone is holding back, perhaps fearing their dissenting opinion is not welcome. Avoid groupthink by inviting productive and healthy discussions throughout the meeting and increasing diverse attendees from various departments in your meetings.
  • Decisions that don’t stick
    Everyone ends the meeting on a high note, coming to agreement on several decisions with strong support. However, a few days later, the senior VP is having second thoughts and throws a wrench into your project timeline. Make sure the right people are present in your meetings at the right times and that, as project leader you establish multiple check points with key stakeholders at critical times.  

Create and share

What if your meetings are beyond boring and participants lack enthusiasm? Try injecting some fun or breaking the ice in your next meeting with a YouTube video, any number of social media outlets, or sharing your personal Evernote project folders and make your next meeting interactive and visually stimulating with multimedia components. There is no denying that we are increasingly becoming a visual and graphically oriented society, and creative elements you contribute to your meeting just may spark new ideas, a brainstorm or a fresh perspective. At the very least, be sure to turn on your webcam and that you take advantage of the technology that’s at your fingertips.

If you’re ready to take your online meetings to the next level, try PGi’s iMeet free for 30 days.


Related Posts:

5 Reasons Why Your Meetings Are Bad (and How to Fix Them)

3 Things You Should Never Do on a Conference Call

The 5 Phases of a Bad Meeting Pandemic

5 Things You Should Never Do on a Conference Call


About Lea G.

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