This video explains why and how we interrupt a negative person in our business meeting or presentation.
In this article, however, I’ll focus on just one reason, which is that negativity spreads.
Consider this for a moment…
You are having a fantastic day…the sun is shining brightly, a cooling breeze is wafting in from the ocean and you are enjoying a refreshing drink at a beach-side café. Peaceful, relaxed and simply idyllic (perfect, dream-like).
A couple sits down at the table beside you and the one individual immediately starts to complain to their unfortunate companion that the waiter is taking too long to ask for their drinks order. They then continue moaning on and on that the holiday resort is overpriced (charging too much) and that it is so hot and humid, they feel constantly dirty.
Would you still feel as happy to be there? Is it still idyllic?
The chances are that you would have begun to feel less content and less happy. Why is that? You don’t know the person…you should not care what they think. Well, the reason is simple…you are human. Humans have evolved as social creatures whose empathy for others has allowed them to bond together, in order to survive. Of course, there are some members of humanity who have not developed this ability, such as psychopaths, however the vast majority of us are strongly empathic.
“Empathy is often defined as understanding another person’s experience by imagining oneself in that other person’s situation: One understands the other person’s experience as if it were being experienced…’ Hodges and Myers (Encyclopaedia of Social Psychology)
We all display empathy, as we are highly attuned to the emotions of those around us, whether we like it, them or the situation, or not. We will get affected.
Indeed Career Guide: 15 Ways to Develop and Maintain a Positive Attitude at Work noted the Benefits of positivity in the workplace, as including:
1 Creates a positive environment
2 Reduces stress
3 Increases productivity levels
4 Improves customer relations
5 Demonstrates leadership capabilities
6 Improves decision-making
7 Motivates others
Melanie Shires (Managing Director: ASU Mentor) in a LinkedIn article: The Power of Positivity in the Workplace wrote that, ‘Positive emotions and attitudes at work… are all associated with better job performance, increased creativity and innovation, stronger teamwork, and higher levels of job engagement and motivation.’
If positivity motivates us, makes us more creative and innovative, thus better able to solve problems…it stands to reason that negativity would have the opposite affect.
So, another persons negative mood affects our own, and it will make us all less motivated, less able to solve problems and less creative.
My previous video: How to Interrupt an Audience to Start a Meeting or Presentation‘ showed that 4 of the 5 main reasons for holding a meeting or presentation rely on audience participation.
And so, if your audience does not fully take part or participate in your meeting or presentation, it would be less likely to deliver results and so it would fail.
Therefore interrupting, halting or quickly stopping a person who is being negative in your meeting or presentation is vitally important to the success of your meeting.
Besides simply interrupting a negative person, you should also then work to improve the mood in your meeting or presentation…to again return it to where it was at its positive start, by quickly convert the negativity into positivity, thereby ensuring the success of your meeting or presentation.
A few ways of improving the mood in a meeting or presentation, may include:
1 Smiling more often and for a little longer to improve both your own mood and the mood of those who see it, as it is as catchy as negativity. Just be careful to not appear crazy by smiling non-stop or smiling when inappropriate
2 Telling an appropriate joke or sharing an amusing story that is relevant to the topic
3 Using more positive language: ‘This is such a fantastic opportunity for us to make a real difference in the lives of others, by addressing this issue.’
4 Giving praise or showing appreciation and gratitude: ‘I’m honoured to be working with such an experienced group of people, who have the knowledge and skills we need to succeed.’
5 Offering rewards or incentives, whilst introducing a gaming element: ‘The first person to solve this problem will receive free Starbucks coffee for a week, on me.’
6 Finding a reason to get your audience physically moving (action improves mood), such as taking a group walk around the gardens for 5 minutes, as they contemplate (thing about) a problem
Positivity breeds success, so do all you can to ensure it remains a part of your meetings and presentations.