You might have another meeting or appointment to go to, you start to get nervous, you glance at your watch sneakily, not wanting to offend. Alternatively it can be a meeting involving several people but with the same problem.
I am sure that we have all had this type of experience, instead of watching the clock on the wall or start to sweat, you just have to take matters in your own hands:
- Be prepared. You can avoid a chaotic rambling conversation, after the first few pleasantries, simply by showing up with a clearly articulated position on the topic to be discussed.
- Set limits. If a meeting is notorious for starting late or running over time, explain your time limitations up front. You might say, “I understand we’re starting late, but I have a commitment I have to keep, so must leave on time.”
- Don’t push it on to other subjects or matters, instead offer to share it if people think doing so will speedup the discussion. If it happens to be an official meeting and there is no chairperson nominated, volunteer yourself for the role.This way you can ensure the meeting remains on track and achieves the desired result.
- Name what’s happening. Listento your gut. If you’re feeling lost, payattention. If you’re feeling bored, notice itand draw attention to the fact.
- When several people areinvolved, there’s a good chance others feel the same. You can tactfully and tentatively share your concern to see if others are feeling similarly. You might say,“I’m not sure I’m following the discussion.We seem to be moving among three different agenda items. Are others seeing that too?”
- Of course always be polite.