Dealing with the Negative


One of the most difficult situations to deal with in a professional manner is how to run a meeting in English when some of the participants are actively criticising an idea. It is difficult because of the need to confront people in a public arena while remembering to keep the meeting effective.

Few people know how to do this when using their mother tongue language, so the ones that can manage this in second language stand out greatly from the crowd.

I don’t know about the people listening to this podcast but I cannot remember how many times I have been in meetings with people and some of the participants there have continued to criticise many of the ideas that were brought up in that meeting.

I have always felt that this created a terrible atmosphere within the meeting, with people trying to score points on the other and even if the atmosphere was not damaged by this type of behaviour, very rarely did we finish the meeting with some sort of action point, with some sort of solution to whatever the problem that we were trying to sort out. So if you are in a position where you are running a meeting and you’re doing it in your second language learning, in English it is really difficult to try to tackle these people while remembering to keep the meeting on course to arrive at an effective ending with some decisions with some action points and so on so forth.

This podcast gives guidance on how to tackle the situation, professionally in English.


Reasons not to do things

  • People are usually against change
    • The tendency for talk to replace action
  • Companies are usually against change
    • The present is a perfect imitation of the past
    • Good aspects : Mission statements
    • Not so good aspects: adapting in the new economy


Reasons to criticise

  • Easy to see problems
    • Little energy required
    • Pessimism sounds profound
  • The majority of people repeatedly criticise
    • Largely harmless in university
    • Many examples of such careers
    • Around senior management
  • Toxic to the workplace
    • Courageous professionals discouraged
    • Smart yes, action orientated no
    • Stay away from these people


The meeting environment

  • Never criticise someone in public
    • You may need their help
    • You have seen the agenda, so call them before the meeting
  • If you are running the meeting be a leader
    • You don’t need expensive leadership training
    • Common sense approach
    • Reframe the criticism
      • How do you solve the problem you described so well.
  • Hold people accountable: For another podcast


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