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Discussion Starter #1
Unfortunately in my team no discussion culture exists. People are aggressive towards one another and interrupt one another, even offend one another. Honestly, it's like in the kindergarter, worse than that actually. There's especially one person who dominates each and every discussion - interrupting the others, changing topics, boasting herself on unrelated topics.

I now need to present something in front of the team and thinking about getting this kind of "feedback" gives me the creeps, as I know people will interrupt me, change topics and similar.

Do you, dear ENTJs, know any playful way I could prevent that? I don't want to introduce "rules" at the beginning as it sounds too serious, but maybe I could bring a magic wand or something and introduce the rule that only the person with the wand can talk and the others can't because if they do, [put something here] happens. Or bring some cookies and give them to people who only said something after being given the floor. I know it's childish but I hate shouting matches so I want to try something out to prevent it. I want to have a calm, inclusive (I want to hear all team members' opinions) discussion not a battle where the strongest (unfortunately in case of my team this means: the dumbest) wins.

Could you inspire me?
 

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If you are are worried about interruption, tell them they can save their comments and questions until the end of the presentation. ThAt is basic workplace respect.
 
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Chatterbox, MOTM August 2013
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Unfortunately in my team no discussion culture exists. People are aggressive towards one another and interrupt one another, even offend one another. Honestly, it's like in the kindergarter, worse than that actually. There's especially one person who dominates each and every discussion - interrupting the others, changing topics, boasting herself on unrelated topics.

I now need to present something in front of the team and thinking about getting this kind of "feedback" gives me the creeps, as I know people will interrupt me, change topics and similar.

Do you, dear ENTJs, know any playful way I could prevent that? I don't want to introduce "rules" at the beginning as it sounds too serious, but maybe I could bring a magic wand or something and introduce the rule that only the person with the wand can talk and the others can't because if they do, [put something here] happens. Or bring some cookies and give them to people who only said something after being given the floor. I know it's childish but I hate shouting matches so I want to try something out to prevent it. I want to have a calm, inclusive (I want to hear all team members' opinions) discussion not a battle where the strongest (unfortunately in case of my team this means: the dumbest) wins.

Could you inspire me?
If you’re going to lead the group, lead the group. They won’t take you seriously with the cookie thing. They’re already acting inappropriately for a business meeting. Don’t let it further delve into playtime.

If it’s a problem with everyone in the group, that’s a clear indication that the problem lies not with all of them, but with you and your leadership style. You’re responsible for holding or ceding the floor. You probably need to be more assertive. You don’t have to read them the Riot Act at the beginning of the meeting, but you should politely ask for their consideration and cooperation in holding their questions until the appropriate time, or respectfully asking them to give the speaker their full attention and not interrupt. If they interrupt, say something. Be polite, but firm.

If the problem is mainly with that one person, rather than subjecting the whole room to the above, pull that one person aside before the meeting and discuss it with them privately. A room full of people really don’t like it if you passively/aggressively subject all of them to the “talk” if only one person is the issue. Confront that person directly, away from the others. Again, be polite about it, but firm. Try not to be confrontational. “I would really appreciate your cooperation ...”
 

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King of Swing
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Yes. No one likes a cunt. Be nice and ri9ht and you'll do well. Also, use your own method, not somebody elses. If you don't know your own method try what you think and you will see what will work best for you and others. With that comes enjoyin9 what you do.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
If you’re going to lead the group, lead the group.
I'm not their boss. But our boss is passive and weak. He is part of the problem. He will be listening to my presentation.

I can't take the lead too evidently since he tends to feel threatened by me.

Of course if I was in charge I would simply introduce totally different rules and control whether everybody sticks to them, but that's the problem.

And I tried talking to the one disruptive person and to the boss about that one person.

Basically, as I see it, I have too options: 1) introducing some rules up front for everybody or 2) defending people, including myself when the one person interrupts or offends them.

I'm trying to come up with a good idea for 1).

Hope this explanation helps.
 

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A couple things spring to mind...

1) Topic Control: You haven't given the topic of your presentation, but just for the sake of example, let's say it's about the market performance of a certain type of widget over the past fiscal year. Every inane, vapid, and off-topic remark, stop, look at her very calmly, and ask her how this relates to the profitability of widgets. This points out how inappropriate her remarks are (albeit in a professional way), while simultaneously putting her on the spot. (For a bonus, it also gets everybody staring at her like she's a complete dumbass, heh.)

After about the third or fourth go-round of this, those kind of people will usually finally say, "Forget it." and shut up for the rest of the meeting.

2) Selectivity of Invitation: Does she even have to be there at all? One of the biggest reasons why meetings tend to be unproductive is that the invite list is insufficiently selective. That is, there are too many people who truthfully don't need to be there, who then feel obligated to at least try and make some kind of verbal contribution, even if they have nothing useful to share re: the meeting topic. Rather than going in for an Fe-based "We should include everyone!" approach, only invite those whose expertise is needed, and those who will actually be making decisions.

Nobody likes sitting there for an hour being talked at and bored as hell. Past a certain point, even people who are normally professional will start behaving inappropriately (or sneaking out...) on that basis alone.
 

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Chatterbox, MOTM August 2013
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I'm not their boss. But our boss is passive and weak. He is part of the problem. He will be listening to my presentation.

I can't take the lead too evidently since he tends to feel threatened by me.

Of course if I was in charge I would simply introduce totally different rules and control whether everybody sticks to them, but that's the problem.

And I tried talking to the one disruptive person and to the boss about that one person.

Basically, as I see it, I have too options: 1) introducing some rules up front for everybody or 2) defending people, including myself when the one person interrupts or offends them.

I'm trying to come up with a good idea for 1).

Hope this explanation helps.
It doesn’t change anything.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not the boss. If it’s your job to lead the meeting, that puts you in control of the situation. You can either take control, or not.

You’re saying that you think you need to back down because you think your boss feels threatened by you. That’s not so. If you think about it, if you back down, it just proves that you’re the one who feels intimidated by him. You have to have the confidence to take charge.

You’re also confusing implementing rules with fostering cooperation. The ultimate goal isn’t to run the room like an authority figure, it’s to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to contribute. You have to learn how to deal with difficult people. There will always be (at least) one person in the room who is a problem.

Your suggestion that you give everyone rules is the wrong apporach. It just makes them want to break them. (they think: don’t tell me what to do).

It’s better to make them active participants in the process. Address the problem as “we” not “you”. “Our meeting will be more productive if we’re all considerate of each other, giving everyone a chance to speak.” is a lot less rankling than “You need to stop interrupting”. And you don’t “defend” others when someone interrupts. Don’t make it about the personalities involved; make it about the behavior. Be encouraging to the others. “Does anyone have anything they would like to add?” I agree with @Elistra’s suggestion that you point out that the suggestion is off-topic, without attacking the person. It shows you’re in control of the room and let’s others see the behavior for what it is. (let the other guy hang himself)

You’re trying to approach this as getting the individiuals involved to respect your authority. Leading isn’t about that. It’s not about getting that one person in the room to sit down and shut up. It’s about creating an environment that lifts everyone in the the room up and encourages them to speak up. In order to do that, you have to command attention, but you do that by having them look to you for leadership, not authority.

The time to have the talk with the person who is disruptive is before or after the meeting.


See the Steve Jobs quote in my sig. :wink:
 
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