How to overcome common meeting room distractions

Distractions can mess up a meeting if not handled well. Here are some of the most common meeting room distractions and how to overcome them.

Silhouettes of People Having a Meeting

How to overcome common meeting room distractions
The best-laid plans… meetings can be overthrown by abrupt situations; even simple distractions can create the biggest interruption when not handled well.

It pays to be focused and extra prepared. Here are some common meeting room distractions you might encounter, together with some tips to overcome them:

Distraction #1: Forgotten adapters and connectors
Setting up the presentation equipment eats up a lot of time; but what if it is incomplete – like an adapter or a connector is missing? That alone can waste a lot of time that could otherwise have been spent on the introduction and discussions.

Handling Distraction Tip:
If you are the organiser of the meeting, be attentive to the needs of the attendees. You should ask them beforehand if they have everything they need for the presentation, so that if a connector has been forgotten or an adapter is not compatible with the laptop, arrangements can be made before the meeting starts.

Distraction #2: Crashed laptop/PC
Just when you thought the meeting was running smoothly, your laptop crashes and unfortunately, it won’t open – everything that you have to tackle including your PowerPoint presentation, videos and files are now gone. Don’t panic, or the meeting will likely end up being unproductive.

Two Laptops on a Desk With Paper

Handling Distraction Tip:
Make sure that you have memorised or at least familiarised yourself with your agenda. You can then proceed with the meeting without your laptop and focus on what you have—confidence and written, hand-out information.

Distraction #3: Personal calls
A ringtone may just be a sound but some find it really distracting, especially when not immediately silenced.

Handling Distraction Tip:
Set a ground rule that every phone should be put on silent mode or better still, turned off. You can also mention that if anyone has to urgently take a call, they may quietly leave the room and answer it outside or in the break area.

If you plan to hold a meeting offsite, we have meeting rooms in London complete with a break area! We understand the need for focused meetings.

Distraction #4: People who are using their phones
Considered as meeting etiquette, no phones should be out – let alone used – during a meeting. The light from the phone can be really distracting to the speaker and the sight of someone paying more attention to their phone call than the meeting is nothing short of plain insulting.

A Woman Looking at Graphs on her Phone

Handling Distraction Tip:
Using a mobile phone can be really tempting, so the best way to avoid this situation is to “disarm” them right from the beginning. You can politely request that attendees leave their phones in their bags or in the lockers. Guaranteed, no one will be diverting their attention to their gadgets then!

Addressing these common distractions in the right way can potentially lead to more productive and engaging meeting.

Posted by Sara Cano

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