3 Hidden Rules of Meeting Psychology: Unveiling the Stinze Phenomenon

At three o’clock in the afternoon, you walk into the meeting room punctually. Pausing briefly at the door, you quickly survey the venue, then head straight for an empty seat. In that moment, what are you thinking? Why did you choose to sit in that particular seat?

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When it’s your turn to speak, you eloquently share your viewpoints. You can clearly sense that several people in the audience are eager to speak, even trying to interrupt you. Meanwhile, a few others listen with blank expressions or are engrossed in their phones. You can’t help but wonder, after you finish speaking, who will be your supporters? Who will be the opposition?

Today’s meeting is one you are presiding over. Some attendees are whispering to each other, and it’s beginning to irritate you. Should you address it? You’re in a dilemma.

In fact, this meeting, from start to finish, perfectly illustrates the “Stinze Phenomenon.” The Stinze Phenomenon consists of three workplace rules:

Rule 1: Seating Theory

The person who insists on sitting directly across from you likely harbors strong opposing emotions towards you. They are likely to vehemently counter your forthcoming speech or presentation. On the other hand, individuals who choose to sit beside you are generally friendly towards you.

Now, recall those who frequently sat directly across from you during meetings or the last person who insisted on sitting across from you. Have you had disagreements or unpleasant experiences with them in your usual work interactions? If so, you should be cautious!

Rule 2: Speaking Opinion Theory

After one person finishes speaking, the next person who speaks often holds opposing opinions.

This is an intriguing phenomenon. Reflect on your numerous meeting experiences. Have you frequently encountered individuals who express opposing views right after you’ve spoken? If someone speaks immediately after you, even if they initially praise or commend your viewpoint, do not let your guard down. They are highly likely to transition into countering your perspective with phrases like “however” or “but.”

Rule 3: Influence Theory

The influence of the meeting’s host determines the meeting’s style and direction. If the host’s influence is weak, attendees may not follow their lead. New viewpoints introduced during the meeting may lead to impromptu discussions. Conversely, when the host wields significant influence, attendees are more likely to respect their guidance and engage in fewer unsanctioned discussions.

If you notice frequent side conversations among attendees during a meeting you’re leading, be vigilant. It signifies a lack of leadership, and you should never turn a blind eye to it. Allowing such behavior to persist will result in questioning your leadership by everyone. The wisest course of action is to address it immediately, with a balanced tone and emotional control.

Additionally, there’s one crucial point to note: even when sitting next to competitors, try to sit on their left side.

This is because the right brain controls emotions, and it governs the left side of the body. Consequently, the left side of the face is more likely to reveal a person’s genuine emotions. When you sit to someone’s left, you can easily capture their true emotions while concealing the emotionally weaker left side of your own face, preventing them from reading your inner secrets.

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