How to dissipate tension during a business meeting
Sometimes it is inevitable for minor misunderstandings to arise before/during the course of a business meeting, leading to a tension buildup between two or more of the attendees.
Today, we’re giving out a number of practical tips to help you dissipate this kind of tension.
1. Pick your seat carefully.
When you’re about to enter the meeting room, try to sit next to a colleague/client whom you’ve previously had tension with instead of facing them directly in order to initiate a friendly atmosphere and avoid prolonged eye contact. This also allows you to pick up visual cues from their body language and better grasp what they’re saying, which will eventually lead you to providing more informed feedback.
2. Show interest by capitalizing on a fellow attendee’s idea(s).
Whenever you feel like tension is starting to build up with one of your fellow attendees, you can always suck up the stress by capitalizing on one of their ideas later in the meeting as a mean of showing interest in their thoughts/logic. By giving them credit where it’s due, you are not only sending them a positive signal but also displaying commendable signs of maturity and openness.
Intrinsically contagious, smiling helps you set the mood for yourself and other people around you. We’re not saying you should fake a smile at all times but at least try to keep a genuine smiling face while giving (and receiving) criticism in order to minimize the risk of offending the other party.
4. Throw in some humor.
We’re not saying you should be goofing around in the meeting room but you can always put your sense of humor to action when you feel that a misunderstanding is about to erupt in the room, as this could very well contribute to a collective change of mood and save you the hassle of witnessing/interfering into an unsolicited dispute.
The best strategy you can dispose of when you feel like you’re about to clash with another attendee during a meeting would be to count to ten before you utter any sort of response and engage in reflective listening instead. This does not only allow you to formulate thorough and rational feedback but also minimize the risk of inadvertently insulting the recipient in the heat of the moment.