Breaking Groundhog Day in team meetings

Have you ever been in a meeting where you feel like you’re in a Groundhog Day? It’s where you try as you end up with the same stories, or reactions and can’t break through. It’s like watching two crab pincer in pincer with neither prepared to let go.

“Can’t THEY understand!”, you say.

However only you can change this pattern, this script. So how do you do this. One way, is to reflect after a meeting on what was going on.  Often it’s good to ask someone else to help you through this, and just take away all your views of whether you were right or wrong and see the situation again from 3 perspectives:

  1. From your perspective (which you’ll do well)
  2. From the other person’s perspective (which is harder, but think about the words you say, your body language, and the message they are getting)
  3. From a fly on the wall (what someone looking on the situation will see)

Then think about the pattern and reflect on these questions:

  1. How Does it Start?
  2. What Happens Next? (this is a clue to whether you are getting into the script)
  3. What is my secret message to the other person? (think deeply about the choice of words, timing, body language etc. You might be saying one thing, and pointing to another)
  4. And then what happens?
  5. What is the other person’s secret message to me?
  6. How does it end?
  7. How does it feel?
  8. How do I think the other person feels?

Sources and Resources:

Breaking patterns is a core part of ‘Transaction Analysis’. The book below is a good introduction illustrating many different types of patterns or ‘games’. Eric Berne is the father of this and built up a repertoire of games in his book ‘Games People Play’ . Transaction analysis also helps you reflect in whether someone is looking up to you or down to you in a conversation, and how to counteract that.

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