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How to Manage Difficult People In Meetings

How to Manage Difficult People in Meetings

How to Manage Difficult People in Meetings

Unproductive meetings cost your organisation money. One of the main reasons they are unproductive is the range of personalities of those attending the meeting.

Delegates attending your meetings come in various types. Not all the delegates come in the right frame of mind. Some of them have personalities and habits that are not conducive to the productive processes of a proper meeting.

Here are five personality types you might recognise in your delegates, followed by our suggestions as to how you might handle them.

1. The Railroader

The Railroader type is the person who tries to dominate the meeting by pushing his/her ideas on to the others, without time for proper thought or discussion.

2. The Joker

Rather than adding value to the meeting, the Joker misuses humour that detracts from the meeting.

3. The Digresser

The Digresser is the person who cannot keep his mind on the issue at hand and talks about non-related or trivial issues.

4. The Cynic

The Cynic is the person who criticises all ideas, without having any positive or practical ideas of his own to offer in their place.

5. The One-track Mind

The One-track Mind is the person who is obsessive over one issue. The delegate who cannot stop from thinking and talking about only one thing.

Countermeasure for the Railroader

Firstly, you must realise that you are being railroaded.

Then inform the Railroader that you will not be bounced into making an instant decision. You want time to think and consider the implications.

Countermeasure for the Joker

The Joker is usually either an attention seeker or a social bully. Neither version is good for business.

Tell the individual you would like him to save the jokes for after the meeting and right now, to focus on the issue at hand.

Countermeasure for the Digresser

Most Digressers need a visual cue to keep their mind on topic.

Therefore, to keep the Digresser on track, use visual aids - diagrams, flow charts or overheads.

Countermeasure for the Cynic

Cynics tend to criticise all ideas without having any positive or practical ideas of their own.

Tell them that you appreciate their analysis of what won't work, but since we have to go forward on something positive, what is their positive suggestion for what WILL work?

Counter measure for the One-track Mind

To assist a person with a one-track mind, again, use a visual aid. Put something visual into their field of view. Put the current agenda item on the wall and when the one-track mind reverts to his fixation, point to the visual aid and say "Thank you, but we are not on that subject right now, we are talking about this topic. Please give your opinion on this."

Effective Meetings Training Course

Learn how to get the best from meetings with our one-day in-house Effective Meetings Training Course.

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About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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