There are times when office meetings can be tension-filled. It’s even worse when someone decides to raise an unpopular view. Imagine explaining an excellent point to your employees. After your presentation using the projector mount, you feel confident about what will happen next. It’s even better if you used one from unicol.com. Suddenly, someone raises a hand and presents an unpopular view. The tension will immediately escalate. You will see eyebrows raising inside the room. Before the situation gets out of hand, these are the things you need to do.
Ask everyone to listen
Be the first want to say that the opinion is valid. You might disagree with it, but you’re willing to listen. Therefore, others should also do the same. Create an open line of communication. Make it a culture in the workplace to prevent misunderstandings. Otherwise, most people will keep their views to themselves. They will never raise a point again, especially if it’s unpopular.
Request for a repeat of the main idea
Perhaps, you didn’t get the entire idea well because of how it was presented. You can ask the employee to say it again. You will realize that the initial idea wasn’t that terrible. However, if you got the same point after the clarification, it’s time to go to the next steps.
Don’t make judgements or silly comments
The meeting is an opportunity for people to present ideas. You don’t necessarily make conclusions at the end of the meeting. There are times when you ask everyone to study the presentations first and call for another meeting to vote. You will also use that opportunity to study the situation yourself. Therefore, even if you already made a judgment at that time, you shouldn’t tell anyone. Avoid making silly comments too. There are times when the opinion is too annoying that you just want to dismiss it. However, if the employee takes it seriously, you have to do the same.
Prepare valid questions
You might also want to test the opinion by asking valid questions. Even if the opinion doesn’t seem serious, your question will take the conversation to the next level. If the employee can respond to these questions, you might change your mind. The initial idea might seem terrible, but there’s depth when you listen to the explanation. Others might even present research results and other evidence to back the plans. Regardless of the quality of the opinion, you can always have an intellectual discussion about it. You don’t know where the interaction takes you, and it’s exciting.
Prepare for a combative approach
Even if you decide to listen to the other person’s perspective, you can’t expect to receive the same treatment. Once you ask questions, the response might be a bit defensive. You’re trying to question an idea that you deem funny, but the other person views as legit. Perhaps, you need to have a diplomatic tone when asking questions. If the employee starts to be defensive, you have to understand it. Some people can’t separate themselves from their business idea. They think that questioning their ideas is a personal attack.
Thank the employee
You might not like the idea, and you think it’s silly. However, you still have a reason to thank the person who raised it. The point is that you managed to let someone speak up. Other employees might also have great ideas, but they hesitate to share. They worry that others will judge them for saying something silly. This employee set an example to everyone on how to express themselves. They can learn a few things from the presentation. Your expression of gratitude can be encouraging to everyone in the team.
Have an open mind
When you go inside the meeting room for brainstorming sessions, you need to have an open mind. You can’t go there and force people to believe what you want. It’s a terrible quality of a leader. You want to empower your employees, and not giving them a chance is counterproductive. They will think that they have nothing good to say. They won’t recommend anything that can probably help boost the business. Also, you have to realize that some of the best ideas came from a silly start. After polishing these ideas, they became a lot better. If you dismiss your employees who raise these ideas, you’re missing an excellent opportunity for your business.
Aside from the people who spoke during the meeting, you also have to thank the rest. Let them know that you appreciate the open-mindedness on the issue.
Set another meeting
After the first meeting, you can ask for a summary of the discussion. It reminds every team member of the points raised. It’s impossible to settle everything in one go. You might need to have another meeting to look into the details. You can include other ideas in the next meeting to save time. Whether or not the employee’s view seems legit or not, it deserves a closer look. Everyone can contribute ideas to refine the final version. You can be more critical this time since you’re deeper into the process.
Hopefully, you can have a productive discussion during the meeting. Make it clear to your employees that you’re always listening. Everyone in the room should have the same attitude. It doesn’t feel great if the meeting ends, and everyone has a heavy heart. Employees don’t stay in a company for financial reasons only. Having a seat at the table is also another reason for them to stay.
In the future, you will have more employees expressing themselves and their crazy ideas. They will feel confident that they will get treated with respect. They’re in an organization where all ideas are heard. Again, some of the best innovations we enjoy now started as a crazy plan. When people became consistent in pushing for what they want to happen, they got others to listen. Eventually, their ideas became a reality.