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How to deal with ramblers during meetings?


Most top-notch executives or top management generally spend half-of their day in meetings. Meetings of many kinds: project meeting, sales meeting, annual planning meeting, board meeting, staff meeting and other. Perhaps your facilitator and your team are very effective and efficient with sound meeting model. But many times the meeting process goes in vain because of disruptive fellows.

But who are the real offenders? To name a few, Ramblers, show-offs and bores hit the list. Also, latecomers, timewasters, naysayers and others come in such list. Few preventive steps can be taken to avoid disruptive behavior. Very first, set some Ground Rules, some norms for your meetings like:


•             Start and end time of meeting

•             Point-to-point discussion, no side discussion

•             One person at a time

Ground norms are effective because they are neutral. So the leader, facilitator can easily implement them to avoid disruptive behavior.

Secondly, prioritized agenda is a must. Build a constructive agenda by identifying most important points and place them on the top of the list and accordingly allocate time. Lower on the list, place less crucial points with sufficient time allocation. It’s always better to construct the meeting agenda and its indexing prior to the meeting. Such planning always helps fellows to be on point and focused during meetings.

Next comes, display behavior and interest of the meeting attendees. Sometimes, their over smartness or dry behavior breaks the continuity of the meeting. Such behavior requires personal touch. Talk to such person privately and tell how his/her behavior affecting the entire meeting. Some small techniques can help in this regard:


•             Focus should be on behavior not on the person. Be neutral to handle the person instead going individual.

•             Always start on time, no matter how many members are there. This gives a clear message of importance of time.

•             Give a job like time keeping and related activities to those who seek attention and believes in show-off

All above techniques if gently implemented then definitely bring in success stories. Instead of boss or leaders, facilitator is a right choice to balance or facilitate the meeting. Because facilitator always is “issue neutral”. Many organization, usually organize such training sessions to train the facilitators.

Sadly, some of people don’t learn even after so much of efforts. Then time to take a direct approach for such people. Better to let them know about the occurrences in meeting and best is not to invite them if they don’t have much valuable contribution.

Meetings should be productive, focused and interesting. Setting down ground rules with prioritized agenda always helpful and key to successful meetings.





Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Author, Publisher & Global Speaker at DrPrem.com
Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.
Dr Prem Jagyasi
Dr Prem Jagyasi

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