April 15, 2014 
The 5 secret skills you need to overcome a meeting derailment

A successful meeting can be an invaluable tool in ensuring productivity and cohesiveness at your company. Unfortunately, meetings can also become a waste of your employees' time and your company's money. You can do many things to prepare for an effective meeting on your own, but you can't guarantee the behavior of those in attendance. If your meeting is derailed by dysfunctional attendee behavior, it may end up accomplishing nothing. 


In this article, we've outlined 5 common dysfunctional meeting behaviors and have provided some helpful advice on how to deal with each of them.   


The 5 Secrets to Handling Meeting Troublemakers


1. Harry Hijacker


Meet the Troublemaker: Harry Hijacker is the one who always seems to take over the meeting, redirecting the conversation to coincide with his personal agenda. 


Skill: Redirection is key. It's important to acknowledge his comments but quickly get him, and the rest of the attendees, back on track.  



2. Drifter Donna


Meet the Troublemaker: Drifter Donna mentally checks in and out of the meeting, often asking a question that has already been answered or commenting on a topic that doesn't relate. 


Skill: She needs a little extra attention from you. Keep her engaged by asking her for input. Assigning her a task such as notetaking or timekeeping is an effective way to keep her from drifting off. 



3. Double-Talker Dennis


Meet the Troublemaker: Double-Talker Dennis seems to talk over anybody who is trying to make a point, never listening.


Skill: Encourage his thoughts but make sure to respectfully ask him to allow others to finish their thoughts too. It's okay to remind Dennis to listen in case his points are addressed by others.



4. Arrogant Andy


Meet the Troublemaker: Arrogant Andy is a classic know-it-all and seeks control of the meeting from the start.


Skill: Head off Andy before the meeting even begins. Seek his advice and validate him in the process. You can also make sure your meeting is set up in a way that allows equal time for all present to contribute. If Andy starts in, thank him for his input and make sure to ask others to weigh in by saying, "We've heard a lot from Andy today. We'd like to hear from others too."



5. Open-Ended Ophelia


Meet the Troublemaker: Open-Ended Ophelia is the facilitator who leaves the meeting open-ended, failing to make sure action items are assigned with due dates.


Skill: Hold her accountable. Make sure the meeting is closed with defined actions, responsibilities and due dates. Too often "to-do" lists are vague, leaving attendees confused on what happens next. 



Put Transformation Strategies in charge of your meeting preparation and facilitation activities. We've helped numerous companies run successful meetings! Learn more about our services


Tricia Steege
Transformation Strategies

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Since 1990, we have been helping organizations drive business continuity, step up performance and grow their internal talent.  We execute change management strategies and provide organizational and talent development solutions.

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