When you are in a heated discussion there is a tried and true technique to help get things back on track.

It’s called The Two Minute Rule.

I heard about this in Ray Dalio’s seminal book Principles. If you haven’t heard of Ray Dalio that’s OK. But, you should know he built a $160 billion dollar hedge fund called Bridgewater Associates. In his book he talks about how he did it – lumps and all. If you haven’t read the book … you should.

He describes a lot of things in his book and several of them stand out. But, one in particular stood out to me.

And, that was The Two Minute Rule.

  • Who hasn’t been in a meeting that has gone off the rails?
  • Who hasn’t want to mute that one person that keeps interrupting?
  • What can you do about it?

If the meeting is in person it can be harder to point the virtual remote at the person and click “mute”

Of course, you can do this on a conference call, but it’s not always a wise idea to do so. Especially depending upon where that person is on the org chart.

So, what can you do?

Take 2

Allow ANYONE in the room or on the call to call out “Two Minute Rule

Then… give the floor to that person and…

  1. Allow 2 minutes to Get It All Out
  2. Take as many turns as necessary.

Use the 5 Why’s if needed to dig into the points being brought up.

Note: This has parallels to what Jeff Bezo’s has instituted at Amazon with the Amazon Leadership Principles.

Things to Remember:
Anyone in the room can call out… 2 Minute Rule

Which means they have 2 minutes… 120 seconds… to share their thoughts.

The meeting attendees have one job… to listen, really listen.

The attendees need to realize that this is not the time to just wait for their their turn to call out or criticize.

Seek first to understand. ~ Dr. Stephen Covey

Does it work? Sure.

Every time? No. Nothing works every time.

Is it worth a try? Absolutely.

Why do this?

Because you want to understand. Because you want to drive for results. Because you want to serve the customer.

When you do this and learn to apply it consistently and with a deep level of professionalism you will stand out in your career. You may never become a hostage negotiator or lead the UN in a critical debate. However, this is a tool for your tool belt to help get to the root of an issue and give people their say. People like to be heard. Even if you and others don’t think so. This is a technique for them to get their 2 minutes.

Will someone else’s 2 minutes change your mind?

Who knows. But, you’ll never know unless you listen. Really listen.