If you want to blow up your next meeting, here are a few tips:

  • Ignore feelings. Nothing makes people more edgy than if you completely disregard the signals they’re giving you that they’re upset or sad or anxious. Do that long enough and someone will blow a gasket.
  • Disrespect feelings. If you have to notice emotions, be sure to sarcastically put people down for having them. Suggest that they’re not tough enough. Coldly tell them that “it’s just business, not personal.” There’s nothing like a little contempt to light the fuse.
  • Tell people what they’re feeling. Tell them they’re angry or worried or hostile or embarrassed. For extra measure, tell them why they’re feeling that way. “You’re just mad because you aren’t getting the budget you want.” Everyone likes to be told how they feel and why. Not.

Emotions are always there in the room. If we handle them well, they can help us show we have the other person’s back and they can guide us toward better solutions.

If we handle them poorly? Well… boom.

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