Have you ever lead a meeting or a discussion at work? If so, you’ve probably encountered that person who’s not paying attention to what you’re saying. He or she might be on the phone, staring off into space, or writing emails on the computer. This behavior is distracting and disrespectful, but how can you stop it from happening? Here are a few ways you can deal with a rude colleague during meetings:
1. Make eye contact.
If someone is on the phone, try to make eye contact, according to Dr. Andreas Kleinschmidt, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company. Look at him or her. Usually, people will take the hint.
2. Take a step toward the person.
If eye contact doesn’t work, take a step closer to the person. Or, if you’re sitting at a table and can’t walk toward the person, lean toward him or her.
“People come toward you, your attention goes up,” said Kleinschmidt.
3. Stand next to the person.
If the person still isn’t taking the hint, it’s time to be a little more obvious. Walk over to the person, if you can, and stand next to him or her. When you’re leading the discussion or meeting, all focus is on you. And, if you’re standing next to someone else, they’re also going to be in the spotlight.
So, if someone is one the phone, he or she might be tempted to put it away because everyone is looking at him or her. Use the energy of the room.
4. Give the person a job.
If this person is still unphased by your attempts to regain his or her attention, assign him or her a job. Ask him or her to summarize the main points of the discussion, or take notes during the meeting.
5. Separate the behavior from the person.
Instead of singling out this person in front of everyone, make an announcement to the entire group reminding them to stay off of their phones.
“Use the energy of the group against the behavior,” said Kleinschmidt.
6. Have a private conversation.
Don’t ever go here, unless you REALLY have to do it, warned Kleinschmidt. Announce that you’re going to have a quick break, and then have a private conversation with the person.
“If you treat normal people like normal people,” said Kleinschmidt, “then they will behave like normal people.”
Hopefully this will help you deal with a rude colleague during meetings. For more tips, check out the articles below!