Typical Meeting Disrupters

August 31, 2013

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Everyone attends meetings. There is a love/hate relationship with meetngs. Almost everyone experiences people who disrupts the meeting which they are in. Who are these people who disrupts meetings? How do you deal with them? Here is a list that you could print and work through with your team members. Let them come up with their own solutions. This would be a great exercise for small groups that meet together to study scripture.

Typical Meeting Disrupters

  • LATE ARRIVERS – When arriving late, some people make a grand entrance while others try to be as unobtrusive as possible.  In either case, there is a disruption:  the door is opened, someone moves through the room, people have to clear a space at the table, a jacket is removed and hung on the back of a chair, a briefcase is snapped open and shut, papers are shuffled.  The momentum of the meeting has been interrupted.

Suggested Solutions:

  • RAMBLERS – The individual talks about everything except the subject, uses far-fetched analogies, gets lost.  This person thinks by talking out loud and can dominate the “air-time” of the group.

Suggested Solutions:

  • CHRONIC OBJECTORS – This person may be a combative personality, a self-appointed devil’s advocate, or someone who is normally good-natured but is upset by something external to the session.

Suggested Solutions:

  • DOMINATORS – This person may be naturally quarrelsome, a show-off, or more senior than others present.  The person may also be exceptionally well informed and anxious to impress others by speaking to every issue and responding to every question.  He or she may be motivated by power or politics, seeking to control the meeting and undermine the work of the leader.

Suggested Solutions:

  • GATE CLOSERS – The person may be excited, full of ideas, or a poor listener.  Most people are unaware of their gate-closing tendencies and do not do it intentionally or maliciously.

Suggested Solutions: 

  • SIDE CONVERSATIONS – These spring up when people in close proximity to each other feel a need to talk because they are bored, suddenly have an idea, have been repeatedly gate-closed, or are excited about a point but can’t get “air time.

Suggested Solutions:

  • QUIET MEMBERS – A quiet individual could be bored, indifferent, above-it-all, timid, or insecure.  One person’s silence can cause unrest within the group when it becomes noticeable, especially if the other group members are actively participating.  Silence is also counterproductive because potentially good ideas are being withheld from the group.

Suggested Solutions:

  • INARTICULATE SPEAKERS – This individual finds it difficult to put his or her thoughts into proper words.  The person has an idea but can’t convey it.  Assistance is required.

Suggested Solutions:

  • OFF-THE-WALL COMMENTS – This occurs when a member, often unknowingly, but sometimes for shock value, adamantly makes a statement that is obviously incorrect.

Suggested Solutions: 

  • COMEDIANS – A sense of humor is a positive, even necessary, asset for any meeting.  However, some overuse it to gain attention, deflect attention, or even to positively contribute to the meeting although the nature or timing of the contribution may be more of a distraction than a help.  This individual may also use humor negatively to mock both people and their conclusions, turning everything into a joke.

Suggested Solutions:

  • MEETINGS AFTER THE MEETING – All of us have been in meetings in which an individual or some faction of the group basically undid the decisions made during the meeting.  Often they never voiced an objection in the meeting, but begin politicking against it in the halls after the meeting.

Suggested Solutions:

What would you add to this list? What solutions would you offer?

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