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How to stop cutting colleagues off

How to stop cutting colleagues off2013-01-16T12:16:15+00:00

The Forums Forums The Workplace Strategies for Work How to stop cutting colleagues off

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  • #118466

    Post count: 14413

    Just wondering if anyone has tips for stopping the impulse to “modify” or redirect colleagues’ ideas in group meetings. (Even if what they’re saying seems off track or not strategic?)

    I get really excited about new projects and my boss tells me I need to empower those around me to contribute more. I know I am so flawed in this way (among others) and though I often catch myself after I do this, and apologize to people afterwards or seek to hear them out after the fact, that’s not good enough, I know. Any tips for biting my tongue and/ or retraining my brain?


    Post count: 140

    @zaidyma, oh, I suffer from this, as well as a couple of other annoying traits.

    One technique I’m trying with some success I learned from my husband, who has the ability to go to meetings and just sit there listening, only speaking up occasionally, then usually with a question (an insightful question, darn it!). When he gives his opinion, it’s really meaningful. He is a great collaborator at work, probably not coincidentally. He does speak up if the meeting goes too far afield, though.

    Have you tried that? <I’m practicing>




    Phil, Just Phil.
    Post count: 43

    Yes, that is a great tactic, how does that saying go “better to remain silent and have people think you are stupid, than opemn your mouth and remove all doubt.”

    However, another tactic I have tried in the past is to effectively take control of the information flow and use my empathy to make sure everyone feels valued and heard.  We are generally very empathetic people and if you redirect your attention to this aspect you may be able to slide around your impulse to interrupt, instead trying to find the quiet introverted people and coaxing their viewpoints out.  If the people you are cutting off are truly off-course then these quiet types will have also noticed and you should be able to get them to redirect for you.  We don’t have the natural game playing skills of the linears, but we can learn to play the game our way.

    I also recall doing workshops and effectively taking over the whole thing because it was going nowhere, not very collaborative though.



    Post count: 596

    Well my natural inclination is to come up with an idea and then expect others to be as enthusiastic as I am. In order to give people an opportunity to feel involved in a  decision or project  I have found that if I go in to a meeting with the mindset that I am presenting a “loose” idea for feedback and am asking for their help in fleshing it out, I often get total agreement and also some great ideas to add to it. I also try to mentally step back from an idea in order to grasp my own attachment to it. I ask myself is it really the “thing” I’m committed to or is it my own ego and need for control that drives a  particular method or approach? Not easy. But if you take it one meeting at a time then eventually it will become easier.


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    It also helps to have a notepad & a pen.  When there’s something you’re bursting to blurt out before you forget it, jot down a *tiny* reminder of it.  That way, you can present it when it’s more appropriate—whether a few seconds, or a few minutes, later.

    Lawyers do this in court, because it’s better than pissing off the judge by constantly interrupting.  And you’ll probably notice that your colleagues in the meeting are doing it too.


    Post count: 929

    Yep, that’s a big one that I use. Lot’s

    It also helps to have a notepad & a pen.  When there’s something you’re bursting to blurt out before you forget it, jot down a *tiny* reminder of it.

    I do that a lot. It seems to me that as I have gotten much MUCH more involved in my community lately. mostly since the beginning of the year. But not as any kind of news years resolution. Just got forced out of my slumber by a bunch of folks that care.

    I’m way better off just looking for some kind of groove, or slot where I can inject a little reason. Even if it only makes it on to my note pad. I write very important stuff on my arm with a sharpie. Less important stuff is in pen and gets washed off. (as I impulsively wash my hands for the 50 million hundredth time in the last hour) THAT WAS A JOKE.

    It freaks me out how quickly people will jump to conclusion these days. It’s less safe to have a dry sense of humor. Dats so very true, huh?

    Just listen more, talk less.

    Wisdom speaks less.

    Kindness listens.

    Love hears.



    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
    Post count: 473

    Sometimes I have gone to social situations, which is the highly technical term for parties, and had an intention of seeing how little I could speak and how much I could listen.

    Not that I stood there like a mannequin, freaking people out, (Which, don’t get me wrong, is fun. Especially at funerals) but simply always asking questions and getting the other person to talk and just listen. This isn’t exactly the point of this discussion, but the idea of not trying to have all the answers, or tell my hilarious story about Venice instead of listening to the other person’s story, is a first step. I have to remember that not everything I think of needs to be expressed, even if it’s interesting and actually is a better story about Venice. Because having a better story tends to shut the other person up. Intimidating, right. Rude even. I don’t know. Competitive? For sure.

    Whereas listening, well, as you say Kindness listens, love hears. And Wisdom talks less and listens more, which is what made them wise.


    Phil, Just Phil.
    Post count: 43

    That’s a great point Rick, there is nothing people like more than to talk about themselves.  We do it because it feels right, but if you step back and make it your mission to essentially push the other person into talking about themselves, they will remember you fondly.  Not to mention all the stuff you learn from them instead of revealing all yourself.

    Now, how to get better at that…

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