How to take back control in chaotic meetings.

Any one who has children knows you are never really in control….

but getting more control at work is important. We’ve all been in meetings — especially virtual ones — that feel like they’re going off the rails. People are trying to get a word in and may be inadvertently, or intentionally, talking over one another.

Be prepared to step in when this happens. You can constructively cut in by using a filler word to drive a strategic wedge into the conversation.

Contrary to popular belief, words like “um” and “you know” can actually be useful in this context. When body language and silent cues can be harder to read, these words can indicate to the group that you’d like to say something. Then, once you have the floor, compliment and build on someone else’s point, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.

For example, you might say, “That’s a great point, I’d like to add to that.” Or, “I really appreciate this discussion — it makes me think about XYZ.” This way, you can maintain everyone’s credibility while also creating an opportunity to get the conversation back on track.

This tip is adapted from “Stop Talking Over Each Other in Virtual Meetings,” by Allison Shapira

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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