Meetings can be a wonderful collaboration tool or a wasteful, hostile time sink. Ideally they give colleagues an opportunity to share ideas, give kudos and enjoy one another’s company. They “are also a place where people jockey for position, work out disagreements and hurt each other’s feelings,” says Gretchen Rubin.
She outlines some phrases that can really serve to undermine others.
1. “I don’t need all the details. Let’s just get to the bottom line.” The speaker implies that the details only matter to people quibbling over them, and that his time is too valuable for this.
2. “Well, these are the facts.” This implies that others are biased by opinions, prejudices or sentiment while the speaker is above such things.
3. “You might be right.” The speaker appears open to other viewpoints, while subtly indicating that he’s questioning your authority and credibility.
4. “I’m wondering about ____. Pat, please get back to us on this.” The speaker demonstrates reasoned decision-making in front of everyone else, while making Pat do the actual research and legwork and then report back.
5. “You did a great job on that, Pat!” The speaker sounds positive, but at the same time shows that he’s in the position to judge and condescend to Pat.
— Adapted from “Beware These Tricks for Making You Look Bad in Meetings,” Gretchen Rubin, LinkedIn.