A videoconference is a scary place to pass the camera and mic. You never know when a “meeting grouch” might appear — like a storm cloud ready to rain on everybody’s parade. But all is not lost! Here’s how to handle a meeting grouch with grace.
Here’s one helpful point to remember:
“Even a grouch can make a helpful point.”
So don’t be too quick to shut them down. Instead, listen and respond to any remarks that seem thoughtful.
But we’re not talking about a simple gloom-and-doom grouch, are we? We’re talking about a hardcore disrupter who enjoys being a thorn in everyone’s side (especially yours, or so it seems).
How professionals handle a grouch.
What kind of professionals often encounter people who love to toss rude comments and hostile questions? Public relations people, that’s who. Here are a few techniques they use every day.
1. Prepare your message in advance.
2. Commit yourself to staying on point.
Adopt a tough-minded attitude. Even if you get knocked off-point, you’re going to get back on point as soon as you possibly can.
3. Interrupt a grouch who strays off point.
“Oh wait! We didn’t get to that yet!” Try saying that loudly in an excited way the next time a grouch interrupts with an off-topic remark. It actually works! And it doesn’t offend.
4. Change the subject.
Sometimes all you can do is let the grouch have his or her say. Then simply ignore it and move on to a topic you want to discuss.
5. Answer a different question.
Questions are so powerful. They demand to be answered. But when a grouch throws a rude question at you, remember this: you’re not required to answer any particular question. So respond with, “I wouldn’t know how to answer that. But here’s what I do know . . .” then make a point that’s important to you.
6. Rephrase in a positive way.
Is there a grain of truth in what the grouch says? Maybe? If you can look past the grouch’s foul mood and glean something useful, begin with, “So what I hear you saying is . . .” then say it a little nicer.
7. Follow up after the meeting.
If the grouch has really disrupted your videoconference, don’t try to handle it on the spot (grouches love to argue). Instead, phone the grouch after the meeting (or better yet, pop into his or her office) for a heart-to-heart talk.
As a ClickMeeting organizer or presenter, you always have control. You can pass the controls to whomever you trust . . . or (in a worst-case scenario) take the controls back if someone violates that trust.
But what if the grouch is someone who outranks you in the company? When all else fails, just keep smiling J
Your turn at the controls.
OK, we trust our loyal readers — hey, that’s you J — and we know you’re not a grouch, are you? So we invite you to grab the controls of our blog by entering a comment below.
Ever had a grouch give you a hard time? How did you deal with it? Come on, share your experiences.