One of our followers asks a question about company meetings that involve a lot of “personal talk.” Company organizations often offer opportunities for colleagues to socialize and exchange personal information. The “water cooler” is alive and well in most businesses today.
Some co-workers may feel “left out” or offended that the talk is not of a professional nature. We often hear conversations turn to fashions, kids, pets, the latest TV shows or other non-work activities.
What should we do?
We often observe employees who want to talk about personal topics as a way to build relatedness with other employees. This is to be expected, and we can limit this talk to time outside of meetings.
Remember that your observation about how others might feel is based on your interpretation of the situation. You might want to get someone else’s perspective and to involve the team in the discussion.
Ask the group. Tell them what you notice about the time and how it is being spent at the start of the meeting and ask how you might be more productive with your time.
Ask those you feel are being left out how they feel about the situation and what would help.
Tell them what you notice and ask questions. It’s our “go to” strategy when looking for perspectives.