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Pavel Polívka
Pavel Polívka

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Sharknado principle: Do not be afraid to talk

In my career I attended way too many meetings where there was around 10 people sitting in a conference room but only few were talking. If the person leading a meeting is good they will ask questions directly aimed to those who do not speak. But way too often it ended up just two people talking, rest of them just sitting there. This is bad. Those people usually have opinions/solutions etc.. they are just afraid to say them because they may be wrong, unreal, etc…

People want to hear you

If your brainstorming session ends up as discussion of two members of the team why even bother doing the meeting. If the person initiating that meeting wanted opinion of the second person and only that opinion they would ask them directly. They want opinion of the whole team.

Let’s see the Sharknado movie. Yes, that crazy movie about tornado full of sharks. At one point there have to been meeting about what they will invest in/film next. And there has to be person that were not afraid to talk about tornado full of shard, guy with chainsaw and all the other crazy stuff. That person was not afraid to throw that idea out there. Even though it seemed stupid as hell.

So what if your solution will not be picked, you contributed to the discussion and possibly provided another set of opinions.

One too many times we had a discussion about a problem that we wanted to solve in the backend, designing features that would take days to implement just of our frontend dev to tell us that he can do this in thirty minutes in frontend. He could be afraid to talk as we here talking about complex stuff in the backend, estimating weeks etc.. In his head his solution could work, but he could be afraid he is missing something. He said it anyway. And that is how it should be.

Be careful on the other side as well

As the person leading the meeting, or one of the discussion participants be careful to accept the ideas of other. Do not dismiss them without considering them. Do not dismiss them without further discussion. Instead of say: “Nah it will not work.” Say: “I think this will not work because of X…, did you consider that?” Fuel the discussion, chances are it will help you find the best solution.

Ask questions directly. Instead of “Everybody agrees?” Ask: “What about you Patrik? What do you think?”

My biggest struggle is not to overpower the meeting. I have a lot of idea, quick thoughts and I am not afraid to talk. Be careful and create the space for others to talk.

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