Here is a strategy to sabotage new ideas in a meeting. Have a dominant personality. Be very loud. Make general statements. Distract attention from the point discussed. Avoid difficult questions. Shoot from the hip. Make personal attacks.

Such meeting dynamics requires careful presentation design. Identify all the key points you want to make. Make very bold, very simple, even simplified visuals to support each one. The objective is that the highly simple chart becomes a mental placeholder for the verbal discussion, its actual content is not that relevant (factual details can be in an appendix). Burying the sentence “Having 2 IT help desks in Luxembourg does not make sense” somewhere in a list of 7 bullet points does not help. Showing tiny Luxembourg on the map with 2 looming call center org charts will create that mental logo.

Now group all the discussion points in terms of importance and controversy. Then, create a final check list, overview map, pro/con table with a visual link to the mental place holders you created before. As soon as a random comment comes up, you can deflate it by pointing out that you already talked about it. As soon as someone tries to deviate the discussion you can point at it and say, we are now discussing this one.

Visual agendas can be more powerful than written or verbal ones to keep a discussion on track.

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