Team meetings can be a great way to deliver a lot of information at once and to get a consensus on how everyone feels about an upcoming business move or project. However, team meetings can quickly get derailed when one or a few loud employees hijack the “floor.” This can compromise the effectiveness of the meeting and leave employees feeling like they wasted time and didn’t get to be heard.
Unfortunately, loud employees aren’t going anywhere. It is necessary for the manager of the meeting to reign in and take control back. There are a few tips and techniques that can help to restore order and to tame the loudmouths.
Set an Agenda
Before a meeting is even called, there should be a clearly defined agenda developed. After the finer points of this meeting have been decided upon, a notification should be sent out to all of the employees that are invited to the meeting. The notification should highlight what the meeting will be about and ask employees to come up with some points to discuss.
Invite by Relevancy
Inviting everyone in the organization to attend a meeting is often unnecessary and can waste time-and can encourage those loud talkers to take over. There is usually a smaller group of people that will benefit from the meeting the most and have the most helpful input. Running a smaller meeting with only the most relevant players will help to keep a more specific focus and will help to avoid having basic questions asked by people that are virtually unaffected by the meetings subject matter anyway.
Organize for Success
Make sure that the space that you select is just the right size for the group that will be present at the meeting and that the setup is conducive to the meeting style that you wish to have. A room that is too large may encourage your quieter employees to disappear into the back of the room, while encouraging your louder employees to become performers. A room that is too small may cause discomfort and may distract from the focus of the meeting.
Try Nominal Group Technique
The nominal group technique encourages everyone in the room to contribute to a discussion. If you are going to try a nominal group technique, everyone should be notified about what they will have to discuss in advance so that each employee has time to gather ideas and prepare something. On the day of the meeting, everyone should be given paper or a virtual tool to be able to write down their ideas and allotted about five to ten minutes to convey their thoughts.
Once the ideas have been written down, all pages can be passed to the meeting manager to be read aloud and discussed. Alternatively, each person can be given a set amount of time to read and discuss their idea-without interruption. Running a meeting using nominal group technique can help to equalize employees’ voices, avoiding the complications caused by loudmouths and effectively restoring order and productivity to the meeting.