Too Slow?! – Perspectives on the Meeting Experience from Different Learning Styles

Here is an example of the power and impact of positivity psychology and strengths-based leading:

I was talking with a colleague about their experience in a recent staff meeting and they commented that they “were slow” because after one person commented about something they were processing what was said which made them miss the next few topics of conversation and then they were behind so if they asked questions it may seem repetitive to others and as though they weren’t paying attention.

I shared with them that they for sure weren’t slow! I offered the perspective that perhaps the meeting was run by those who have strengths that can process quickly in the moment and aren’t creating space or showing deference to those who need one to think before contributing.

One way that I accommodate for this as a meeting chair is providing agendas and lengthy handouts ahead of time for those to find it helpful.

I encouraged my colleague to not think of themself in a deficit of being “slow” but rather recognizing what they are bringing to the table in other ways and settings. That the need to process information whereas perhaps those running the meeting are biased with the privilege of being able to process information and change topics quickly.

I encouraged my colleague to focus on what they do well and how they can do that more rather than focusing of what they don’t do and trying to correct that behavior to be more like someone else. I encouraged them to talk to their supervisor about ways this learning style can be accommodated if possible.

By the end of our talk my colleague was seeing themself in a different light and I could tell from their body posture that they were feeling better about them self and the situation.

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*I used the pronoun “they” rather than “he” or “she” to (1) respect the privacy of my colleague, (2) to share the example in a unbiased way, and (3) to get us all used to the use of the pronoun in everyday spaces.

As always, I seek to create dialogue so please comment your thoughts, reactions, other examples, take-a-ways!

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