Detrimental rendezvous

Do you remember being in a ‘false-allegations-meeting’ where your strong yet courteous disagreements despite your valid reasons led to a total disaster? Have your emotions overridden your professional judgement and influenced you to interrupt or speak over the top of someone in a supervisory role as you felt bullied or harassed or degraded or belittled? Have you been stopped from leaving the ‘so-called meeting’ to recover from the temporary emotional imbalance which coerced you to control the situation by being dominant when you were required to listen and keep an open mind? Were you pressured by ‘leading questions’ which were formulated to elicit a response that was contained in the question itself when it is a taboo to be subjected to such questions?

I have been in yet another meeting where communication failed to occur as the message sent was not received by me in the intended way probably because consistent wrong meetings with incorrect feedback that was neither constructive nor instructive due to a lack of praise for things done well, and lack of employee support, did not bring about any behavioral changes in me.

Emotional maturity being synonymous with professional behavior, one should not organize one- to-one meetings to address conflicting situations without knowing the audience or team member, without considering the member’s likely reactions, without acquiring an understanding of the member’s attitude to authority and perspectives besides other things like his or her reading, technology, spoken skills,knowledge, qualifications, experience, relationship to organization, etc., and without respecting the member’s convenience, need for privacy, in addition to ensuring that the communication is intended for the right person and not for an unintended audience.

If the organizer’s objective in holding a one-to-one meeting is to present a specific message in the most effective way without distracting the attendee from the main message and the latter to act upon it, then the recommended ways are extensive planning besides a clear cut purpose, tailoring the essential information to get to the point quickly and to suit the chosen time frame as most regard time as a “precious commodity”, checking if the intended information is already known to the audience or team member, and acknowledging that “emotional communication even though limited does have a legitimate role” in the workplace. For the meeting to be successful and to have a partial win even before the meeting, it is expedient to agree with the attendee’s choices such as tentative acceptance of meeting on the agreed date and time, postponing the meeting on the grounds that it is not conducive, etc. Apart from recognizing the rights of individuals, putting oneself in the place of the affected individual will be useful as this will influence one to consider the best way to deliver a specific message.

Therefore, while dealing with conflicting situations and while addressing these in a one-to-one meeting, cultivating a “solution based culture” is advocated as doing so prevents a problem from escalating into a more difficult situation and actually resolves the problem. Communication challenges can also be ironed out by sticking to facts, by building positive relationship with the team member, resolving misunderstandings then and there, by actively listening to new members who see “issues with fresh eyes and present fresh ideas” despite their lack of experience in the specific field, by reflecting back to seek a win/win situation, and by providing assistance or medical support when unwelcome news are communicated to the team member. Kudos to Records and Information Management Practitioners Alliance Global and The College of Adult Learning for the course material for BSBXCM301 – Engage in workplace communication, made available through Catapult Learning Management System!

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