The question is, how do you deal with disruptive folks without losing your cool — especially in an essential meeting? Here are some suggestions on how to maintain control.
How to Deal with People Who Cause Disruption During Meetings
Having individuals talk and interrupt you can be highly irritating and aggravating. However, if they interrupt in the middle of a business meeting, or worse, interrupt you regularly, you have to do something. The question is, how do you deal with disruptive folks without losing your cool? Here are some suggestions on how to maintain control.
Establish ground rules.
Before the meeting, come up with some ground rules that everyone can agree on. For instance, beginning on time even if someone is late. Likewise, allowing only one person to speak at a time and not deviating from the subject and your agenda. Constant interruptions, individuals talking over one another, and coworkers chattering among themselves are all examples of disruptive behavior. Such behavior may be curbed by having a firm framework in the workplace. In addition, distributing a plan in advance might assist guests in deliberating over their remarks and questions more thoroughly.
Maintain your composure.
You could get the impression of that specific individual. They are on the planet for a purpose. Their only goal is getting under your skin, and you want to give them a piece of your mind. It’s critical, though, not to lose your cool or behave aggressively throughout this process. Instead, attempt to figure out what is causing them to be disruptive or challenging to work with instead. For those who wish to be more engaged, you may assign them the task of taking notes or keeping track of the time. Alternatively, notice if they are always in opposition to you. You might invite the other participants to remark on their presented points to get a more balanced perspective.
Don’t get involved in a heated debate.
Having a heated debate in front of anyone is poor leadership — but a debate with any amount of upset is not a good idea in your public company meetings — That’s as futile as trading on the Moscow Stock Exchange right now.
Having a heated argument with someone in front of the group is likely to make the rest of the group feel incredibly uncomfortable. You also run the danger of losing all credibility in the process. Try to have a positive attitude and avoid being pulled down by any bad behavior.
There will always be cynics at meetings; all you have to do is speak as well as you possibly can to win them over.
Always treat every participant with courtesy. Every participant, no matter how challenging they are, ought to be treated with dignity and courtesy. Some people be disruptive without even realizing it — it’s simply their nature – so accept that everyone is different and accept that they will be disruptive. Others in the conference may agree with their points of view, so never attempt to dismiss or mock them or their opinions.
Create an atmosphere that is conducive to learning.
For a meeting to function successfully, it is essential to consider the temperature and dynamics of the room. It is possible that an overly hot room can lead tempers to flare. Either that or everyone will fall asleep in their seats. People will be more awake if the temperature is a little on the chilly side, which is perfect. Avoid seating dominating personalities close to one other since they may take over the meeting or start a dispute between themselves.
Maintain a sense of order throughout the meeting.
A competent meeting leader should keep the meeting on track without deviating too far from the plan’s objectives. If someone becomes disruptive, you have the option of asking them to leave. For example, disruptions that are negatively impacting the flow of the meeting and preventing other people from contributing. This, however, should only be done as a last option in extreme cases.
In the case of a remote meeting, distractions are everywhere. And so are disruptions. And their devotees. Sports scores are discussed before the meeting. Not during. Weather is discussed after. Not during. Politics is verboten at all times. Before. During. And after. Monitor eye movement to see who’s on their phone playing games. Or texting.
Not every decision has to be reached by consensus — especially if you are the manager or leader in charge of a project. One of a leader’s major tasks is to bring as many people’s perspectives to the table as possible. When you’re only seeking feedback, though, you must be explicit.
Carl Bass, the former CEO of Autodesk, believes there is a built-in contradiction in encouraging individuals to express their thoughts since it may lead them to assume a choice would be made democratically.
Here’s how he approaches it right away:
At the start of every meeting, he makes it very obvious whether it’s a single person’s decision or whether it’s more of a debate to establish an agreement.
He believes it’s a pretty important thing to comprehend because otherwise, people could become irritated because they voiced their thoughts but don’t understand the bigger picture behind the ultimate choice.
Healthy discussion and ideas are important at certain times, and people want to be heard. It’s valuable to say that you really want to hear someone’s ideas or thoughts in detail and ask them to stay after and explain these to you so that you can understand the full impact of the information. This comment and attitude will usually calm things down if you have remained pleasant and neutral.
Featured Image Credit: Artem Podrez; Pexels; Thank you!