Your coworker, what a jerk, right, interrupting people like that ? You can’t event figure how to raise a word in these damned monthly meeting. So when it’s your turn, you use it as much as you can. And… you keep it a bit too much, maybe. Think about a vicious circle, right ?
There’s a basic trick to prevent people -yourself included- from interrupting each others during meetings : have the chairs set in a close circle, 2 or 3 meters wide.
We’re all bullying from time to time, let’s be honest. But when you can see everyone at once, feel them close, you know who’s talking and who’s about to. There’s also a pressure to take others in count before bullying around. So consider this trick a good way to stop yourself from being harsh. Suggest it to your coworkers for yourself.
I see a few cases when this no-brainer of meeting facilitation is forgotten
Presentation followed by a question / answers session
After a coworker ended her classy powerpoint, ask 30 seconds before the talking to move the chairs as to have everyone in circle, in each other’s sight. Yes, in conferences too, as much as you can, have people move their chairs or themselves before the Q/A.
Tables are set in U shape
or anything too large, dismantle them form each other. Have people sitting closer, 2 or 3m max. If you like, remove the table, best trick ever for honest conversation.
When there’s this big one-piece of un-removable presidential table
I’ve seen that. A large table set up as a triangle, proudly riveted to the ground. It set people apart in 3 factions at every meeting, 5 meters away, with people at the corners feeling unengaged, and people in the middle of the sides feeling exposed.
Well, get rid of that table. It deserves all you can. Talk to the boss. There’s important things running in this meeting room, right ? otherwise nobody would have put such a proud piece of furniture there. Get. Rid. Of. It. Replace it with simple tables on wheels so you can easily rearrange the room whenever you want.
You’ll thank me.
… now, I do know it may take some months. Until then, try to set up a circle of chairs beside the table. You’ll prove how much more efficient and healthy meetings are. Now, go get the chainsaw.