Meetings have, are, and will always be the potential peak of awkwardness. Difficult topics are dime a dozen, and conversation flow has to be checked carefully – lest it become a one person monologue, or deadly silence.
But that isn’t how meetings have to be. With a careful hand, even the most precarious of meeting can become a genuinely rewarding experience. All it takes is a willingness to change the atmosphere, a willingness to accept the atmosphere – and a healthy dose of hope.
Making Awkwardness Your Tool
Not every situation can be fixed by the ‘fake it ‘till you make it’ motto – but a large majority can.
The thing about awkward situations is that it’s not just you that feels it – everyone in the room does. By accepting that – with a cringe and some gritted teeth – you can really gain a sense of power over the situation. Getting comfortable with disarming awkward feeling situations isn’t just a benefit to you, either. Given almost everyone is the room definitely also feels uncomfortable, whoever manages to break that tension becomes just a little bit better in their eyes.
Creating an atmosphere where people feel accepted is nothing short of the golden ticket to any successful icebreaker. The exact way to do this varies depending on the context of the meeting, but some tricks stay the same. Making light jokes, avoiding blatantly superficial small talk, and being genuinely kind to people will only fail against supervillains – and if you’re in a meeting with Lex Luthor, making it not awkward is the least of your concerns.
Accepting the Atmosphere
Sometimes the environment of the discussion you’re having won’t let you joke off the bad vibes. One of the unfortunate things about professional meetings is that sometimes formality is required, killing a lot of joking potential.
However, this isn’t a bad thing. Learning to be comfortable in different settings – both formal and informal – is helpful for both your personal and professional life. Most formal meetings feel uncomfortable because they aren’t something that comes naturally to humans. Grinning and bearing it when you don’t want to can be tough, but adapting to a change and creating a habit takes time. Give it some and who knows? Maybe you’ll crave formal meetings like the cheesiest pizza around. Or maybe you’ll just get comfortable in them. Either way – you win!