Many of us participate in meetings and training sessions on a regular basis. They can be helpful, informative, and conducive to growing bonds with colleagues. However, they can also be breeding grounds for those blatantly obnoxious individuals who you would just like to muzzle.
You know the type – the person who never shuts up, disagrees with everyone, and hogs the attention. They’re typically oblivious to the fact that everyone around them wants them to shut up. But, there are also those who are aware of what they’re doing and thrive on being antagonistic and annoying.
So, how can you control this fool? Here are a few tactful tips that can work almost as well as a muzzle:
DON’T rise up to their level of obnoxiousness. You certainly don’t want to be pegged as someone with similar bad behavior, nor do you want to give any ammo to the idiot to attack you personally.
DO acknowledge them sweetly and say things like “that’s a good point”, “interesting that you bring that up”, and “I understand why you think that”. You would probably rather gag than say such niceties, but sometimes acknowledging them is all they need to tone it down.
DO call for a break if they are getting increasingly out of control despite your attempts to rein them in.
DO pull them aside and speak to them privately to express your concerns.
DO try to get them on your side and ask for their support on certain issues that you will be discussing in the class.
DON’T hesitate to ask them to leave the session if they refuse to participate in a productive manner.
It’s an unfortunate reality of life that there are certainly obnoxious individuals among us. And, meetings and training sessions can bring out their worst behavior. However, by beating them at their own game and not tolerating their ego-focused nonsense, you can effectively minimize their ability to irritate you and your fellow attendees.