How to prevent repetition from dominating meeting time
How many meetings have you attended where you felt like saying something or if the other meeting attendees rolled their eyes it means they seem to be thinking “please shut up so we can continue” with someone else in a meeting who doesn’t. released some? topic they mentioned. You didn’t mean to be rude, so you just let them ramble, don’t you? Of course I did because I didn’t know what to do and how to do it in a non-offensive way. So you let them ramble and they waste your valuable time and that of others in the meeting. What can be done to easily solve this meeting problem in the future?
First, you must recognize that people who tend to keep bringing up the same topic do so because they don’t feel like they have been heard or because you don’t realize the seriousness of the situation as they see it. How can you make someone who repeats himself as if you are not listening to know that he was heard? Second, the solution is simple: write it down! Not only in meeting minutes, but also in meeting logs that are visible to everyone in the meeting room. This lets the person know that they were heard and that their problem will be addressed. The third thing to do is make sure you have a plan for dealing with that problem in the future. Dealing with the problem may mean assigning someone an action to investigate the problem, problem, or alternative solutions. Or you can choose to put the topic on the agenda for a future meeting so that the group can discuss it and decide what should be done. Depending on the urgency or complexity of the problem, sometimes it is enough to put the problem on a “group problem board” or in a “team parking lot” because it can resolve itself in a few weeks.
Once the issue is logged, you can usually proceed to your scheduled meeting agenda. However, sometimes just recording it doesn’t work. When this happens, reassure the person that their problem has been recorded and that it will be reviewed later in the meeting for possible action. Then, during the closing of the meeting, be sure to return to the topic and decide what to do with it and when. If you do not follow through on the promised follow-up at the end of the meeting, you will lose the trust and respect of the person who raised the issue because they will see it as insincere. Also, you may make them believe that you do not value their contributions and lose future contributions from this person.
A published and agreed-upon agenda with specific deadlines is also a useful measure to prevent someone from straying in a different direction or staying on one topic too long during a meeting. An agenda agreed upon at the beginning of the meeting by the group helps focus attendees’ attention on the purpose of the meeting, as well as providing guidance on how time should be spent. For a meeting to be effective, all attendees must understand why they have come to the meeting and can feel that what they have to contribute is valuable to the meeting.