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Why do people evade directness in meetings?
I was invited to attend a meeting today for a new executive committee. Part of the conversation was about improving training to employees designated for certain jobs. I gave a specific example of how combining information from several sources would decrease the gap in communication, which is the reason the committee was formed in the first place. The response was that they felt my opinion wasn't contributing to the meeting's purpose and I was off-topic. My comments were specifically addressing the current needs. Does this happen to you and how do you handle it when it does?
It's really a great question, Brandi! I think we have become a society of evaders. We evade confrontation; we evade letting people really know us; we evade our feelings; we at times even evade the truth.
Since i always want to answer a question positively.
So in my view people evade directness in meetings 'So that they can negotiate in a better way'.
Imagine in a situation where you are sure to be outnumbered in a meeting and your opponents are mostly likely to undermine your bargains from that meeting.
Now if you send your sub-ordinate (your representative/your agent) to the meeting with specifically mentioning to him/her the extents to which you are willing to compromise, you will be able to delegate much of the stress. And when your sub-ordinate comes back, you will still have the privileged position of adding a few more clauses before finalizing your deal.
The best example is that of Eamon de Valera. He sent his representative to meet Churchill, because he knew that his direct meeting with Churchill will definite undermine the dream of the 'the republic of ireland'.
I think most people don't speak up at meetings because they are scared, particularly if there is a domineering tyrant in the group. These people of limited intellect don't understand that "digression" is what leads to breakthroughs. They also like to quiet people they feel intimated by. This person is probably threatened by your intellect.
Meetings that are recorded and are formal can be daunting for many. In such an environment we are at our best. May be the stress dilutes our otherwise sharp analysis. The answers we present may not be well thought out or appear to be well thought out to others. Meetings also tend to run smoothly when attendees know each other well. It is a tribe where 'I' joins others to become 'us' or 'we'. Most times 'us' versus 'them' is a dynamics that influences our language. This may cause good intentions to be interpreted as misleading or irrelevant.
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