First, I am trying not to make this a rant, more of a…Have you ever noticed how one person can hijack an entire group of people gathered for a joint purpose purely on the assumption that their message TRUMPS all else; the agenda, the time constraints, the un-stated rules of the meeting? Have you ever?
WHEW – rant is over.
In our rushed lives, one of the most disrespectful things a person can do is infringe on one’s time without asking or recognizing when it is inconvenient. It’s most frustrating when you are in a meeting, trying to get decisions made – problems solved – only to be derailed by a person or two with their own agenda.
I call these people Meeting Hijackers – they come in many forms but here are the two I met this week.
Granted this was a political gathering of sorts – there was an agenda, but while changing out the media between topics, people were allowed to have the stage for a few minutes. The rules: 2 minutes to step up to the mic, tell us who you are, what position you are running for, and what’s important to you.
Most people did exactly that, quick paced – glad to have the opportunity. Until the woman who at 2 1/2 minutes into her intro, is interrupted by someone from the crowd, standing with 2 fingers in the air reminding her of the 2 minute rule. Whoa, my initial reaction was how rude is that to call her out – but instead of wrapping it up she continued for another 2 minutes. With no apologies and no acknowledgement of the grumbling in the crowd she finally decided she had completed her mission. If she thought the extra time taken gave her more of a chance to “show us who she was” or give us something to remember her by – SHE WAS RIGHT!
AGENDA BUSTING HIJACKER
This Special Guest asked if he could jump onto the front-end of our monthly agenda packed meeting so he could brief us on the “state of the ____.” This is a respected member of the group so of course he was granted this opportunity. 45 minutes into our 1 1/2 hour (over lunch) meeting he completed his Power Point Presentation. As interesting as the subject was, after a 1/2 hour all I could hear was my internal voice saying, “Are you kidding me?”
Both of these individuals have many accomplishments and are passionate about their work – and proudly so – but they took advantage of the time they were given and lost some credibility in the process.
As the keeper of the agenda here are a few tips on how to keep the Hijackers at bay:
- Always have an agenda, best to send out prior to the meeting
- Start the meeting with ground-rules & purpose of the meeting
- Keep the meeting moving and on task
- If someone is known to hijack – have a conversation prior to the meeting about the desire to stay on agenda and meet the needs of attendees
As a participant:
- Get on the agenda and use your time wisely
- Play by the rules of the meeting
- Respect others
- Stay on point – be purposeful and efficient when communicating
- Keep your EGO in check – no pontificating
You can manage meeting hijackers without the TSA.