In an ideal world, everybody would play nice. All meeting attendees would arrive on time, put away their devices, tune in to the discussion, contribute passionately, listen to their colleagues' opinions, understand the logical flow of the meeting process, resolve conflict amicably, and leave fully committed to the decisions of the group.
But teleconferences and face-to-face meetings can unfold similar to those on the playground. You may have passive attendees and dominating participants that annoy each other and complicate the process.
- They answer every question before others have time to respond to the challenge, analyze issues, and think for themselves.
- They hold the floor far too long and cause meetings to run too long.
- They often ramble and repeat themselves, creating boredom and impatience among the group members before decisions are reached.
- Their monopoly prevents other ideas and solutions from surfacing.
- Their biased opinion may not represent the group as a whole, and as a result, decisions and actions from the group may not accurately reflect the group's thinking.
So what's your role as a leader facilitator? You serve in much the same capacity as a moderator for a panel or a presidential debate. Your goal is to create an environment where everyone has opportunity to contribute to the discussion, and that often means putting some controls on the dominator.
- Accept comments from the dominator without yielding the floor. Giving verbal pats on the back typically encourages the person to keep talking and explaining: (Examples of verbal pats on the back: "That's one idea. Others?" "Good idea." "I like that." "That could work.")
To sum up: There's not much value in a meeting where only one or two people dominate the discussion. So if you're in charge, lead!