Ever arrived late for a meeting? of course you have, everyone has! Ever used your mobile (however discreetly)? Ever held a side conversation while someone else has the floor? Well then you are a ‘meeting disruptor!”
According to Boards that Work published by the Directory of Social Change, there are in fact 26 ways to disrupt a meeting, which can be broken down in to five distinct categories.
Perhaps the worst offender in a meeting is the mobile phone, small enough to hide but sufficiently distracting to be able to take your mind completely off the topic in hand. Emailing, texting, tweeting, alarms going off and taking calls are all classic disruptions.
Interrupting a presentation, not listening, using aggressive body language, being rude, being too emotional or showing disrespect all fall into this category. All are unacceptable behaviour in or out of a meeting.
Aside from technological distractions, your attention can be diverted by reading papers unrelated to the meeting topic, hold a side discussion with a neighbour or worse still start gossiping. Going off at a tangent will throw the meeting equilibrium and being called away will obviously upset momentum completely.
Occasionally there will be a meeting delegate who is out to cause trouble and has their own agenda from the beginning. Tactics they might employ are talking too much, pursuing hidden agendas, using jargon or introducing a red herring, being too formal or pointlessly provocative.
Finally there are those who just can’t be bothered! The arrive late or unprepared, contribute nothing to the meeting and/or yawn throughout.
So have you ever knowingly or unknowingly disrupted a meeting?