The Endless Meeting

Have you ever been in one of those meetings that never ends because everyone keeps saying the same thing? How do you suppose that happens?

I have a theory.

I think most people like to talk more than they like to listen. They focus on what they need to say, not what the other people need to hear. This is natural. Talking feels good and relieves stress, even when no one else is listening.

But talking alone doesn’t help if the purpose of a meeting is to get to a consensus or a plan of action. If all the fireflies blink their way and never respond to others, then they never synchronize. Similarly, if you only repeat your points and never reflect back the points of others, you’ll never converge. You’ll just keep blinking and waiting for them to converge to you, and they’ll do the same – for as long as it takes.

What to do?

Listen more than you speak. Listen for what the other people want and show them you’ve heard it. Listen for “yes, and”, not “yes, but”. Be the first to do it. And be patient when everyone else keeps on talking. They haven’t figured out yet what you’ve figured out, that listening is powerful.

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