Overcoming Negative Meetings

04/04/2022 | Roger and Susie Engelau

Do you have trouble overcoming negative meetings when you run the meeting?Inspire Results Business Coaching

Do the meetings you run often go down the “Negative Meeting Rabbit Hole?

Are your employees great at pointing out why ideas and suggestions won’t work?

Are you frustrated, hesitant to run any more meetings for your small business?

Overcoming negative meetings is tough and it falls on your shoulders when you’re the business owner and meeting leader! Meetings can quickly go down the “negative meetings rabbit hole.” That’s when you and your employees let negative thoughts thwart your team meetings. This is when you can’t get past the “why this won’t work” comments with every suggestion that’s brought to the table.

Running ineffective meetings that spin out of control causes you to make minimal progress in accomplishing worthwhile organizational objectives.

As the owner and business leader, you simply must stop your meetings from heading down that miserable path! Negative meetings can take on a life of their own if not turned around at the beginning of the meeting. So it’s vital that you get ahead of anything negative before it spirals and escalates.

That is what leaders do. They find a way to open up a constraint. Just a little bit at first. They find a ladder to climb over a roadblock or seek a path around it or under it. They’re not shackled by doubts and fears but face them boldly. Good leaders simply don’t allow negative meetings to happen and when they start, they turn them around quickly.

When you get good at overcoming negative meetings here’s what can happen—

  • It encourages more ideas,
  • It builds up your team members’ confidence,
  • It ultimately produces better ideas that you can implement
  • It tells employees that their ideas and contributions are valued.
  • This leads to increased retention and morale

Here are 6 ways to get good at overcoming negative meetings and avoid falling into the negative meetings rabbit hole:

  1. Agree on Positive before Negative

Set a ground rule to deliberately evaluate the positive aspects of any idea BEFORE you let the negative comments be stated. Enforce it every time an idea is brought up and pretty soon others will be enforcing it with you.

  1. Smile when someone’s talking 

According to The Power of Smiling, smiling increases mood-enhancing hormones while decreasing stress-enhancing hormones, including cortisol, and adrenaline. It also reduces overall blood pressure. And because you typically smile when you’re happy, the muscles used trigger your brain to produce more endorphins—the chemical that relieves pain and stress.

  1. Nod

It’s a good practice to nod at people while listening to them as it shows you are interested in what they are talking and are paying attention. Be careful not to nod too much, however, so it doesn’t look like you’re overcompensating your lack of interest in what’s being said with mindless nodding.

  1. Paraphrase

Paraphrasing sends a message that you’re listening, that you’re interested in what’s being said, and that you’re repeating back what you heard to ensure that you took the words of your employee to heart.

  1. Look at people directly when they’re speaking.

Employees who know they’re heard are more engaged and productive. One study found that when companies are looking for ways to improve, 82% of your staff have ideas that can help you get to those goals. You won’t know that if you aren’t really listening.

  1. Lean forward

Leaning slightly forward signifies interest while laying back screams disinterest and disrespect.

Overcoming negative meetings contributes to a positive company culture. Just like being positive within your team meetings, you also want to make sure your people know you’re thankful for their contributions, whatever they are. If you’ve not created a thankfulness culture in your small business, here’s everything you need to know. Thankfulness Culture in Your Small Business.