As someone who facilitates a lot of meetings, I was excited to read the article, “The Right Way to Cut People Off in Meetings,” by Bob Frisch and Cary Greene. Essentially, they suggest that most meetings veer off topic and it’s hard to determine how and when to intervene, and when the conversation is valuable. Their solution to this predicament: the word, “jellyfish.” Per Frisch and Greene, here is how it works: “At the start of your gathering, introduce the ‘jellyfish ground rule:’ if any attendee feels the conversation is heading off course or delving into an inappropriate level of detail, they can and should employ the word to indicate that opinion.” Simply say, “jellyfish,” or “I think we’re having a jellyfish moment,” or “Gee, did I just see a jellyfish swim by?” It’s a catchall for, “Why don’t you take this offline — the rest of us would like our meeting back!”
It’s simple and funny. Anyone in the meeting can invoke it. It raises awareness. It’s pure genius. Or as they say on Seinfeld, “Gold, Jerry! Gold!”
I tried to think of a word that could be equally as provocative, but came up at a loss. I can’t wait to try this at my next meeting!