ТОП 10:

Don’t State Opinions in Meetings Too Soon


For a manager, opening your mouth can be dangerous. Psychological research has shown that:


· Just saying something out loud, even if it’s incorrect, increases the speaker’s belief in the statement.


· Hearing another person say something out loud can increase a listener’s belief


in the statement. This effect is even more powerful if the speaker is perceived as an authority figure or an expert.


To reduce the risk of biasing yourself (and others), avoid stating a position on an issue before you have to. Start by asking questions with an open mind, learning, and hearing what others have to say. Good conversations go through stages:


· data gathering:Everyone in the conversation is asking questions, gatheringdata, and learning about the problem.


· discussion:People have an open-minded discussion about the data they’vegathered, ask further questions, and identify unknowns that need to be investigated.


· brainstorming:People begin throwing out possible solutions as open-mindedly as possible without attacking each others’ proposals. This maximizes idea creation and cross-fertilization.


· evaluation:The team begins discussing the pros and cons of each possiblecourse of action.


· proposal:A particular course of action is proposed and reviewed verycarefully.


· decision:One or more proposals are chosen and the team moves forwardtogether on implementation.


In managing the flow of a conversation about a question, it is better to start by trying to draw the other participants into the conversation and see what they know. This ensures that their ideas are included in the discussion and that they know and feel they were included. Remind yourself mentally at the start of the discussion to try to have an open mind on the topic and not jump to conclusions. Only later on in the conversation begin focusing the conversation around possible solutions and finally focusing the team on what appears to be the best possible solution.


Much time can be wasted in a conversation and much needless friction produced when a person begins strongly advocating for a particular solution too early without allowing time for open discussion and brainstorming first. A person who reasons poorly yet is overconfident in their conclusions is most prone to make this mistake. Since they reason poorly, they’re likely to reach a poor conclusion, and since they’re overconfident, they’re less likely to recognize that they made up their mind too quickly and reached a non-optimal conclusion.


The problem is made worse when a person starts advocating a particular position more strongly than the facts justify simply because they’ve publicly committed to that position and now their whole fragile sense of self worth hinges on whether the group accepts their hasty conclusion or not. Managing the flow of a meeting poorly,


jumping to conclusions too quickly, and emotional insecurity among the participants can create a toxic brew from what could and should have been a simple, painless, open-minded discussion of possibilities. Above all, don’t get your own ego mixed up in the question of whether you’re right or wrong about a particular point. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem!


Reach a conclusion as soon as you need to, but not sooner. Speak up at the right time, but not sooner. You’ll make better decisions with less friction!


Answer the questions to the text.


1) What are the dangers of speaking too soon?


2) What stages do good conversations go through?


3) Why should the other participants be drawn into the conversation?


4) Who is most prone to make serious mistakes in a discussion?


5) What can create a ‘toxic brew’ from what could and should have been a discussion of possibilities?


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