Tic, Tic, Tic

In which we are reminded to clean up distracting physical habits. I frowned. Multiple times, I guess. Afterwards, a few of the people in the meeting I was leading commented, "When I asked questions, Nick frowned. I felt like I was asking dumb questions."

Well…….. OK. It’s true. I frowned.

I was not aware of this at the time. I was not aware of the impact that this had on the meeting participants. They were not aware that my frowning was an indication of intense concentration to hear all aspects of their questions — content, structure, possible alternative meanings, connections to any of the thousands of words spoken during the meeting — and give them good responses.

Never mind….. I frowned. They felt I had disrespected their questions.

Tics, you know? Unconscious behaviors. Bad habits.

I’m grateful to my client; she summoned her courage and tact to share the feedback. Good for her. Good for us both. The fewer distractions, the better the meeting quality.

OK, that’s it for my tic confessions. I have others. How about yours?

Clearing your throat repeatedly? Hands in pockets and out. Looking away when you’re listening? Coughing repeatedly. Looking at flipcharts when you’re talking. There’s a million of ’em.

Find someone with courage and sharp eyes. Ask them to watch. Ask them to make a tic list and hand it to you. Swallow hard. Fix the tics.

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