Patti Lind - facilitation - resolution - change Communication at Work - A Monthly eNewsletter

October 2007

Creative Teambuilding

Mistake Sharing!

Spend a few minutes in your team meeting sharing “my biggest mistake” of the week or month. Everyone in the meeting is encouraged to share a mistake that might help others.

The tone of the meeting should be positive, helpful and fun/laughter is encouraged.


Recommended Book

If…Questions for the Game of Life.
- James Saywell and Evelyn Mcfarlane

No deep reading here. Just deep thinking at the spur of the moment.

This is a handy little book that is filled with thought provoking questions to get conversations going:

  • “If you could spend one whole night alone with anyone in history whom would you choose?” 

  • “If you could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, which would it be?” 

You could use questions from this book as an ice breaker activity, as a way to get team members to know each other better, and as a way to build your conversational skills at a work gathering when everyone is sitting around a table and not knowing what to say next. 

Communication Tip of the Month

Patti LindFeeling cut off?

Do you ever wonder why you get cut off and interrupted in meetings, while other people’s opinions are sought out time and again?

Two sure fire ways to get marginalized is to ramble on without a clear point or attach a sidecar of downer emotions to your thoughts. In the business setting, energy goes more towards clamping down on “ramblers” or “tension producers” rather than giving them more air time.

Look at the meetings you attend and notice who tends to get more “welcomed floor time”. My guess is that they talk in a relatively normal, conversational tone, keep their thoughts focused and to the point, and leave people in the room feeling safe.

Consider this. If you frequently get cut off before you’ve made your point, sketch out your thoughts briefly on your notepad before you speak to the group. Just a few words outlining your key thoughts is sufficient. Then, when you get your chance to speak, do it in a thoughtful yet assertive manner. 

If you have a tendency to add emotional tension, then you might be detracting from your message.  Emotions that tend to get shut down in meetings include exasperated whining, indignant attitudes, sarcastic complaints, and angry challenges. Dial down the expression of your emotions, aim for a more conversational tone and use words to convey your emotions instead.

  • “I am losing energy because there are no solutions emerging that people can agree upon. Could we rank order the three best possibilities available to us.”

  • “I need to be honest with everyone here, this topic is really hitting me where I live and I can feel my frustration level rising. I don’t think my thoughts are getting a fair hearing. Could we spend a few minutes more exploring this idea before we move on?”

Do you have a question for Patti? Send an email to and it may be answered in next month's newsletter.

Contact Patti Lind: | | 503.775.1662