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Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt, a physicist once said in his book, ‘the Choice’ – “I smile and start to count my fingers.

• One, people are good.

• Two, every conflict can be removed.

• Three, every situation, no matter how complex it initially looks, is exceedingly simple.

• Four, every situation can be substantially improved; even the sky is not the limit.

• Five, every person can reach a full life.

• Six, there is always a win-win situation. Shall I continue to count more?”

This article is all about how one should handle his/her thought process in day to day interactions, whether it is a business meeting, a court room argument, discussions in an office space , business calls or any other form of communication.

What do you think when you meet any person for the very first time in a business meeting? What is your thought process right from the very first time you see him, when you shake hands while introducing each other and begin a conversation? Have you already made an opinion?

Are you trying too hard to JUDGE him or trying hard to know whether that person is bad or good?

What do you do next..?

You start interacting …start observing…(Good – keep going) … try to understand his behavior …(nice) and drive conclusion (what?) …wait hold your thought – is the last thing of driving a conclusion important here? …….Hell no. What you have done is that you have lost your objectivity. And with fast inferences, you have made a conclusion, of which you have absolutely nooo idea whether it is right or wrong, but it surely is unnecessary …Why you have to like the person or hate him – if you like him, he wins – you hate him, you lose – and both you do in first 05-10 minutes of conversation and your behavioral pattern.

Result- The person whom you started liking would drive the meeting now and he will get you convinced on what you didn’t want to agree. Or he will take your commitment which you weren’t suppose to give or he will dodge you to an extent that you will forget what you wanted to derive out of this meeting… in a clear manner he will stop your thought process because you have started Judging him and made your conclusion. On the other hand, the person whom you have started hating or disliking will capture your attention in a negative manner and you will start belying or rebutting him/her or will try to windup the meeting ASAP. You may think whatever he is speaking is boring or irrelevant …or you might even stop listening… you will lose your focus again this time.

Adopting a simple policy of only Being in an Observation Mode (BOM) i.e. observing how different people react to different situations, which words they are using and why, what their body language suggests, their behavior pattern etc. Instead of judging people immediately, being in an observation mode can make a huge difference in nurturing inter-personal relationships with people, developing communication and getting results. Being in observation mode will not only help to improve your success rate in execution of tasks and job performance but will also give you mental peace!

Let’s first understand a simple difference between the two notions and why it’s that important!

Judgment is a Cognitive Process of reaching a decision or Drawing Conclusions.

Cognitive Process means the psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning while

Conclusions are obtained through intuition rather than from reasoning or observation.

I carefully chose the definitions to make my point here…

As its always said “let’s not lose the objectivity” which you have already lost…

Now that we know the problem here, let’s try to develop on how we can solve it...How we can learn not to judge but only be in an observation mode and stick to our objectivity. (aah!! ... befuddling mental exercise!!)

Let’s see if the following points make sense:

• Always prepare yourself before the meeting with agenda pointers. “Begin with the end in mind”

• Do the background check about the person/company you will be meeting one day & an hour before the meeting – visit their social networking sites, websites, blogs etc. and restrict your study only to collecting data and understanding their thought process. Why do they want to meet (if that’s what they want)?

• Create list of questions based on your study to deepen your observation.

• Create list of questions which you think they will ask you after going through your websites, your social networking sites again in order to understand what you have already communicated and whether you still follow the same thought process.

• List down things what you would want to drive out of that meeting.

• List down what you think that person would want to drive out of this meeting on the basis of your observation.

• In the meeting stick to the pointers and intensify your facts with observation of the other party’s behavior, personality, attitude, body language and leave all your observations in that state itself.

• You should always keep your business feelings in one hand and personal on the other. Don’t ever mix both. That person is neither your enemy nor is he your best/good friend. Your prime focus should be on what is in the best interest of your company or your business. Always remember - “ This is not personal .... this is business”

• Don’t try to satisfy or struggle with your ego on small points/issues. You have to observe whether that person is of the same wavelength and whom you can do business with or whether it will last long.

• Always keep your business in one hand and your emotions on the other. Your emotions should not take over your objectivity.

• Always keep pointers in mind – how to open a meeting, what to discuss, when to close the discussion and with what points.

• Also be careful that the other person is also in observation or judgment mode as you are and you have to be vague enough to not allow him to make a negative opinion about you. He should like you, he should trust you, and he should find you confident and clear. And if you have followed the above steps, all the attributes will come mechanically.

• Stick to your strategy and you will get what you wanted… By judging immediately, you will end-up losing soon. Follow the points and I am sure the meeting will be very much productive and effective and just the way you wanted to close it.

Few examples of meeting objectives:

Brainstorming sessions with internal team – high energy –motivating – creative and productive

Partnership meetings:

Sometimes you just need to dominate as a strategic call so that you make sure everything is under your control.

Not to get dominated- when you know the partner is trying to take control, the objective is not to get dominated and keep the relation healthy enough.

To satisfy someone’s ego- sometimes you just need to be present and take all anger since you know that you just have to satisfy the ego of the other party and you both can’t do anything in that situation.

To negotiate- Negotiation meetings are really tough. The objective is to make the other person understand that what you are proposing is win-win for both. You must remember Godfather’s dialogue:

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

Praveen Sharma


Published by

Praveen Sharma
(Business Head )
Category Career   Report

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