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.

  1. Emphasize the importance of staying focused at the beginning of the meeting
  2. Refer to the agenda and restate the objectives
  3. Ask topic-related questions
  4. Don’t reinforce off-task behaviors or remarks
  5. Relay the comment to a participant you know will stay on track
  6. Summarize previous discussion when someone’s comments are not germane to the topic
  7. Use closed questions (yes or no) to focus the participant
  8. Interrupt and let the person know (tactfully) that they are off topic
  9. Ask the participant how their statement relates to the objective
  10. Remind the participant about the limited amount of time