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I often find coworkers or managers jumping to conclusions during meetings. People seem like they know what they are talking about during the meetings, but when I talk to them in private afterwards, and inquire further about their decision, I can't help but think that they need to think a little more.

Sometimes when I try to take a step back during the meetings, and bring up an issue, it simply gets dismissed. I think it makes me look pretty bad, because I have both impeded the flow of the conversation and possibly questioned a "higher authority" (possibly my boss or someone else's boss). Furthermore, I don't get a chance to prove my claim, so I look like I'm wrong, and just causing a fuss.

I am more of the contemplative and careful thinking type, but others usually move faster (at the cost of jumping to conclusions) and just want to "get things done". We've made a lot of blunders I feel could have been resolved, because I saw the issues before everyone else.

Without simply going with the flow at every meeting, is there a way I can get everyone to think more on my level?

marked as duplicate by gnat, scaaahu, mcknz, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Michael Grubey Jun 28 '15 at 21:02

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  • I'm not that fast unfortunately. I compensate by sometimes going along with everyone, then suggesting proof for an alternative in a group email later. – CareerQuestions Jun 25 '15 at 18:03
  • I agree. I think I meant by my level, I meant more careful thinking, and possibly okay with admitting mistakes in front of a large group. – CareerQuestions Jun 25 '15 at 18:09
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I, like you, prefer to have more time to think about issues instead of trying to solve everything in a meeting. Part of the issue is how meeting-driven your team is. If your team is the type that likes to solve all problems with meetings then you need to learn to play within that framework.

  • Continue to have 1-on-1 discussions with people. Continue to think about issues on your own. But don't let it end there. If new information or questions come up, call another meeting. This lets you have your discussions, but also keeps people involved and doesn't make anyone look bad (eg: "Boss and I were discussing this and WE thought of an issue with why X isn't going to work as well as we thought. What do people think about Y or Z")

  • Push for agendas to be sent out before meetings. This allows you to prep beforehand. Use the agenda to run through possible pitfalls ahead of time so you can come with the evidence that you lack on the fly. After the meeting, follow up with notes and todo's for investigation. People don't like taking notes, so if you are the note-taker you can push for some of the issues you want addressed just by including them in the post-meeting notes.

  • Have the answers. Since you can see blunders that are upcoming, don't just say "We shouldn't do this." You should prepare and propose a better solution. You don't want to be the guy that points out why everyone is wrong. You want to be the guy that knows the right answer. Be that guy through a few blunders, and you will gain the team's respect and they will start listening to you. Right now it sounds like you are coming into the meeting with half an idea and no solution.

  • Finally, let some things go. It feels good to be right, but it sounds like your team values speed of execution over getting all the details right. Sometimes that means going with the flow and letting things happen. It's not your job to make sure your manager never makes a mistake.

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Background

  1. Introvert/extrovert. People process information differently. I, like you, am introverted - meaning in this context that I process information internally. Some people are extroverted in how they process information, meaning they do it verbally.

  2. Talking over each other. Some people also converse differently. For many people, interrupting and talking over others is not rude but totally normal. Many people (especially introverts) find this incredibly rude/dismissive.

  3. Direct vs indirect. Another factor can be how direct you are. Saying "this is a problem, we need to fix this or the project will be delayed" vs "I think we should talk about this as it might have implications" means different things to different people. Some people who are more bold/risky see the latter as "maybe, probably not an issue" while those saying it are (in their mind) saying the former

What to do?

  1. Be more firm in your statements. This is painful. It's excruciatingly painful to try to say, "we need to talk about this problem" when you are not 100% sure it's a problem. Maybe only 90% sure :) People who are extroverted and direct need this level of communication for it to sink in. Introverted/indirect people tend to be hesitant to suggest problems/issues which result in the extroverted/direct people not seeing/ignoring/dismissing them.
  2. Agendas. Oftentimes this situation happens when the introvert (who like to preprocess information) has to pretend to be extroverted. Ask for an agenda ahead of time, so you can preprocess things.
  3. Asking for questions. You might suggest to the facilitator to include you by asking, "what do you think CareerQuestions?" as this is a great way to include introvert/indirect people in a meeting dominated by extrovert/direct people.

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