Effective Communication – Making an Impact in Meetings

If you need to make an impact in your meetings, you’re going to need some tactics. Our Facilitation and Meeting Skills and  Effective Communication courses discuss some ideas to help you do just that.


Statistics reveal that 11 million meetings take place every year. 91% of staff admit to daydreaming, 95% admit to missing meetings altogether and 39% of employees fall asleep in them!


The following 8 tips and appropriate responses to 4 challenging behaviours in meetings will help you to ensure that meetings remain productive.


  • Have an agenda – An agenda adds structure to a meeting and helps keep to time. Ensure your topics are on the agenda before the meeting so that they are raised.
  • Don’t wait too long to get in – Be assertive and ensure you make your comments heard. If you delay, the conversation will have moved on and you will miss your chance.
  • Keep to the point – Be succinct and concise, don’t waffle. Be brief but accurate and informative.
  • Encourage your colleagues to contribute – Help others to be heard as everyone should be there for a reason and useful input from all should be encouraged.


  • Actively listen – Pay attention, make notes, and show your interest non-verbally through eye contact, facial expressions, and nodding.
  • Clarify, confirm, and summarise regularly – This helps all and keeps the meeting on track and on point.
  • Ask open questions – Want detailed answers? Ask good questions! Start with who, what, why, when, where and how.
  • Respond quickly to questions but take time to think if needed. If you don’t know the answer, say so – then move on.


Dealing with challenging behaviours in meetings

 Unfortunately there are some who make meetings tedious and downright annoying. Here are some ways to deal with these frustrating behaviours:



Divide and rule
This device entails the passing of conflicting information to individuals before a meeting with the intention of creating antagonisms.

Counter: Recap on the facts. Find out who is spreading misinformation. Be prepared when in the meeting to re-establish the facts to clear up misunderstandings. Suggested things to say: ‘Where did you hear that?’ or ‘Who provided that information?’

By speaking in a loud voice and interrupting, a dominant person may try to undermine the confidence of less dominant attendees.

Counter: Challenge the dominant person with a firm request for orderly conduct. Suggested things to say: “May I request that everyone listens and respects their colleagues and behaves in a professional manner.”

This time-wasting device involves somebody speaking loudly and at great length about a subject irrelevant to the one under discussion.

Counter: Isolate a potential blusterer by avoiding eye contact with them. Suggested things to say: “Thank you XXXX but we are discussing YYYY and as time is of the essence we need to press on.”

Some people use anger as a tactical weapon in meetings in order to halt the discussion and have the meeting adjourned to a later date.

Counter: Stay calm. Suggested things to say: “I can see you have strong feelings on this, but we need to (reach our objective) by X o’ clock today.”  If the behaviour persists, it may be necessary to ask them to leave the meeting.


Remember, if you don’t really need a meeting, don’t have one! But if you do, try these tips to ensure they are productive and efficient. People will thank you for it!