As a corporate man by day, and an entrepreneur by night, I’ve attended my fair share of meetings over the last decade or so.
Meetings can be an odd experience. Before you know it the meeting can get out of control. Leaders with pinstripe suits or hair that is turning grey quicker by the day can lose the plot. They flex their ego with words. In other words, they talk a lot. As the meeting wears on the duel continues. Leaders throw words around. Those looking for their next promotion do the same.
Looking smart is key. You use spreadsheets and insert phrases into customer’s mouths that they never said to ensure you’re seen as right or most in touch with the customer.
It’s all bullshit. The meeting is a waste of time. No resolution is reached.
But it’s not all bad. Meetings have taught me one valuable lesson: watch the quiet people.
There are these hidden people that attend meetings. They say nothing. You can attend ten meetings in a row and never hear them say a word. Their words are a privilege reserved for the royal family. You find yourself dying to know what they would say. They act like a fly on the wall. With every meeting, they get smarter, by saying nothing at all.
They observe the loud beasts, rather than become a beast.
I used to be loud in meetings. These quiet people changed my mind. Now I try to sit quietly in most meetings and not say a word. I’m a long way from mastering this skill but it has already taught me so much.
The loudest person in the room is not the most senior, or necessarily the brightest spark.
Job titles make people do stupid things. One of those misdemeanors is talking too much. You can have a title today and have it gone tomorrow.
What ruins business is people that don’t listen. They think they know the market but actually they don’t know anything at all.
The brightest spark in the room says nothing at all. They are there taking notes and paying attention to what is going on. They watch the duel of egos and see no room to interrupt.