A few weeks ago, I wrote about words that can make a meeting more effective. But what about words and phrases that have a more negative impact? Here are some meeting topics to avoid.
Words that aren’t work-appropriate
This one is pretty obvious, but first let’s take a look at Business Insider’s words that make you sound dumb in the office. (I will admit to using “awesome” sometimes…)
Also, be careful using words that are often mistaken for other words.
So… how do you use the word “so?”
West Unified Communications Services has a detailed article about a simple word: so. If you think about it, there are a lot of nuances. So, check out this article!
Taboo topics in different cultures
If you’re going to have a meeting with some foreign clients or partners, it’s essential to find out what topics to avoid. Accidentally offending someone is a quick way to turn them against you! For example, in China, it’s no problem to tease someone about gaining weight, but in the US, that’s quite rude. And politics? Religion? Money? It depends on the country, but it would be best to avoid talking about those things. And you should even check how to address people in different cultures! Is it best to use their family name? Or will that be considered cold?
…and truly “foreign” topics
Another thing to consider in an international meeting is if a topic for small talk is actually well-known. To an American, launching to a chat about the NBA finals may seem like a nice ice breaker, but if the other meeting participants are from India, perhaps they’ve been focusing all their attention on the just-concluded IPL Cricket Tournament. This also goes for making jokes and other cultural references. Saying that someone is like Nobita Nobi could be totally meaningless to someone not in Japan.
Do you know of any other touchy subjects or phrases? What do you think are meeting topics to avoid?