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Article No.: 18-11, November 1, 2018

Article Title: How to Kill a Good Conversation: Fast

Author: Linda Gravett, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, CEQC

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Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in many, many meetings.  There’s a clear pattern in the unsuccessful ones – a pattern of what I call Discussion Killers.  These are phrasesDr. Linda Gravett photo that meeting participants throw out that absolutely squelch any positive, productive discussion.  Do you find yourself using these phrases way too much?

  • Don’t be ridiculous
  • It’ll cost too much
  • We’ve never done that before
  • That’s not the way we do things around here
  • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
  • It will never sell
  • It simply can’t be done
  • It’s too radical of a change
  • Let’s get back to reality
  • Let’s form a committee to decide
  • We’ve done alright without this
  • It won’t work here
  • Okay, but if it doesn’t work, you’re the one who’s going to get blamed

If you checked off three or more of these statements, I encourage you to reframe them in your next meeting.  For example, “That’s not the way we do things around here” could be: “I’d like to learn more about your suggestion – I haven’t seen that before.”

Please contact Dr. Gravett by email at with questions or comments.

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