When a participant hijacks a meeting, energy dissipates and attention drifts away from the focus of the meeting.
What strategies can you use to keep the meeting on track and moving forward? Try one of these.
- Emphasize the importance of staying focused at the beginning of the meeting
- Refer to the agenda and restate the objectives
- Ask topic-related questions
- Don’t reinforce off-task behaviors or remarks
- Relay the comment to a participant you know will stay on track
- Summarize previous discussion when someone’s comments are not germane to the topic
- Use closed questions (yes or no) to focus the participant
- Interrupt and let the person know (tactfully) that they are off topic
- Ask the participant how their statement relates to the objective
- Remind the participant about the limited amount of time