Leading a meeting is not an easy task. You are facing people who have different ideas on how to move forward. Some of them also have strong personalities and will insist on what they want to happen. As a result, the meeting could be quite chaotic. Being in the middle of the mess, it is your job to ensure that you move forward without hurting the feelings of others. You also need to find a way to achieve your goals. These tips will help you preside over this chaotic environment.
Before you even begin the meeting, you need to inform everyone how you will conduct the session. If there are disagreements and people are talking over each other, you need to explain that you have the right to decide who speaks first and how long each person can continue talking. You also need to tell people how you will break deadlocks. It could be through voting. You could also consider all ideas and let the upper management decide.
Do not say no to anyone
You might have strong personalities in the room. You cannot add to the chaos by being judgemental. You cannot tell people to shut up when they have nothing good to say. You also cannot put them down if you think that their ideas are not worthwhile.
Move the other agenda forward another time
If you reach a topic where no one wants to give in, you could hold off for a while. Tell the people in the meeting that you can move the discussion to some other time when you are ready to resolve the issue. You also need everyone to think about the topic more before the debate continues further; otherwise, it will remain a deadlock.
Take a break
If tension is too high, you can suspend the meeting for a few minutes. Provide snacks and refreshments. Perhaps, people will come back with a clear mind when they have finished eating. Make sure that it is not a long break since people might lose interest. Some of them might also decide to settle things outside the meeting room, and you will be out of the loop.
You cannot let the people in the meeting room talk over you and disrespect your authority. You need to make it clear to everyone that you are still presiding over the meeting, and the chaos cannot continue. You also need to have the power to decide which topics you will continue discussing and which ones you will hold off on until the next session.
If you are discussing ideas for a marketing campaign, you need to explain why you are doing the campaign and what you are trying to achieve. You can also give the agenda days before the meeting so that people will come in and have an idea about what will happen. You also need to be specific about the discussion. If you intend to use pull up banners for the next campaign, you need to let everyone know about it; otherwise, the discussion might get side-tracked and you do not want to delay the process.
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