Dalio has a series of tips for managing meetings and we’ll cover three below.
Enforce the logic of the communication type
Keep communication as close to the ideal for the communication type as possible. Do not let debates or discussions become one-sided education conversations. Encourage interaction and challenges.
"There is a tendency for people’s emotions to heat up when there is a disagreement, so focusing on the logic of your exchange will facilitate communication."
Don’t tolerate Topic Slip
If people are getting distracted from the purposes and objectives of the meeting then it is your job as the responsible person to be assertive and intervene. You need to be open minded and consider whether this topic slip has relevancy, but if it does not then you should shut it down. There is a finite amount of time – it is not wise to waste it.
"Topic slip is the random and inconclusive drifting from topic to topic without achieving completion. Tip: Avoid topic slip by tracking the conversation on a whiteboard so everyone can see where you are"
Focus on substance not style
Dalio picks up on a number of tendencies we have to evaluate things poorly. Sometimes this is because we hold people similar to us higher than those who are less like us. Sometimes we value the contributions of people who put their points across confidently or well worded over those who have less charisma. Equally, someone’s point is not wrong simply because they made it in an aggressive or offensive way – though that might be another issue to deal with. Your job as the responsible person is to see past that and identify substance not style.
"This is not to say that some styles aren’t more effective than others with different people and in different circumstances, but don’t let style or tone prevent you from getting in synch."