A few months ago I wrote about Not Taking it Personally (NTiP*) and snarky emails.  Today let’s talk about another aspect of NTiP.

Sideways glances.  Yawns.  Grimaces.  People do these things in meetings.  Probably in meetings you’re running.  It can be distracting and cause all sorts of reactions, the most common of which is to take it personally and get defensive.  It’s natural and it’s counter productive.

Consider this:
He’s glancing sideways at her because they’re having an affair.
She’s yawning because her puppy was demanding attention at 4am.
He’s grimacing because he’s constipated and the gas bubble just moved.

The fact of the matter is, people are so focused on themselves and their own stuff; they can’t be bothered to think about you or me.  Think about the thoughts that go through your head when you’re sitting in a meeting.  Half the time we’re adding to our food-shopping list.  Grimace!  I forgot to write down eggs.  Darn.

Even a raised voice is less about you and more about his fear of appearing incompetent.

The next time you’re running a meeting and people are grilling you for answers, take a deep breath and remember – their intensity is a reflection of their insecurities or their digestive challenges. You know your worth and what you’ve contributed.  You’ve got nothing to defend.  So don’t.  Go ahead, run the meeting with quiet confidence and watch how the information flows from person to person without holding yourself responsible for each action or reaction.