How to Get Meeting Dominators to Share the Floor

You can’t talk to meeting dominators and ask them to behave.  It doesn’t work. They are transfixed by their own oratorical brilliance.  They compete with one another.  They want to squeeze all the silence out of the room, the quiet moments of thought that might give birth to deeper ideas, if only we could hear ourselves think.

You can’t ask them to control themselves: they are not aware that they are out of control.  It’s been their habit since birth to bloviate.  On average, they take up something like 60% of the time in business meetings.

Bloviation is a term coined by the staff of Warren Gamaliel Harding,  (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923) He was the 29th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1921, until his death in 1923.  He was a man who had the remarkable skill of speaking interminably and saying next to nothing.

A good politician has to have this skill, along with a strong inner core of discernible values, but he or she also has to have a little squishiness or flopiness around the outer edges so she can tack left or right depending on the circumstances. Bloviators often have these skills in spades.

Watch this 4-minute video from Leigh Thompson at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University to learn more about BrainWriting.  It’s a process that can shut down the meeting dominators and give everybody else a chance to contribute.

You may have heard of Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, and the subject of Michael Lewis’s most recent book, The Undoing Project.  Kahneman, a self-described introvert, developed a plan to do the same thing that Leigh Thomas is offering.  It’s a process that has proven to shut down the tyrannical talkers.

No longer will the meeting dominators take over meetings because they are the loudest people. Everyone with good ideas will have a chance to shine.

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