Wednesday, November 6, 2013

10 Things Not to Say in a Work Meeting

If you want to be able to work with people, and not alienate them to the point that they will never put themselves out to help you EVER AGAIN, here are some things I recommend not saying in a work meeting:

1. "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" - Excuse me? Am I a naughty 5 year old? Are you my nanny??

2. "What you have to understand is..." - You might get away with this once, but if it's your standard, patronisingly drawled riposte to any question or discussion, yeahno.

3. "Get us a coffee, wouldya, sweetie?" - When spoken by a peer (male) to a younger female (me) who does not actually report to him.

4. "What you've written is just stupid" - It may indeed be, but this is not the optimal way to communicate this fact.

5. "I'll get it to you by 5 on Friday. You can fix it up over the weekend, right?" - OHO, you'd like ME to do the unpaid overtime, would you?

6. "How can we resolve this so you will do what I want you to?" - Um, we can't. Because what you want me to do is illegal / unethical / suboptimal.

7. "I get paid more than you, so you have to do what I say" - This was a classic from an early, retail job environment. So much noooooooooooooo.

8. *Heavy sigh* "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear..." (when considering a proposal) - Pat me on the head while you're there, OK?

9. "I don't like your new haircut much" - Noted. And this has what to do with the subject at hand?

10. "I think we can all agree that [insert principle that no one else agrees with]" - This one just annoys people to no end.

Work meetings should be about professionalism, courtesy and effectiveness. I'm all for vigorous disagreement when necessary, but I'm not for passive aggressive (or aggressive-aggressive) derailing. That just puts my back up straight away.

NB: While all real examples, these are derived from multitudes of different employment scenarios across my 25 years of employment. Few or none may relate to current or recent job situations.

This is post 6 in NaBloPoMo. 6 down, 24 to go!

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