Inflicting "help" on people isn't always the look that you think it is
It was the final go/no-go meeting before a pretty big release. The usual cast of characters was there. Leaders, Managers, Seniors, Heads of, and all the different functions like QA, Dev, PMs, Legal, Compliance, Architecture. You name it; they were there.
They all wanted to know if testing was complete, if there were any problems in the app and whether we could release or not.
I promptly corrected their misguided assumptions, poor use of terminology and refused to answer any further questions.
I'm convinced I only survived because a friendly PM gave me air cover!
Always think to yourself: Is this the hill I want to die on?
Opportunity cost is real. How will your next move impact your available options later? There's a risk you could be perceived as unable to answer simple questions, being evasive, or continually arguing "semantics" instead of actually helping.
Here's the thing, what I was saying in that meeting was right. But did it help? What was I trying to achieve? Did I win the battle but lose the war?
A pyrrhic victory isn't worth it.
#1. If the situation is appropriate, explore the meaning behind the words.
Understanding the reason behind the caused those questions being asked is essential!
Learn the underlying concept behind the words they're using with 5W+H questions.
Ask for examples to illuminate what they mean.
Note areas where you genuinely agree to build mutual understanding.
#2. If not, consider the opportunity cost of continuing.
Timing is everything! Can your energy be best spent in other ways?
Understand what's driving your reaction.
Test your assumptions - maybe you've misread the situation.
Be mindful of the social and psychological messages you're sending.
#3. Find opportunities to tackle the same problem with different methods.
Is rhetoric the only tool you can use to achieve a good outcome? Get creative!
Show rather than tell. Exemplify what you mean.
Is there a way to make an incremental change, or do you need to demonstrate something BIG?
Look for ways to frame & visualise what you want in terms of what they want.
If I had used a few of these concepts in my go/no-go meeting, I could've simultaneously saved my PM friend some hassle and built my credibility!