Management Tip

Jun 01,2021 Back

Controlling a Meeting

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