Lesson notes, exercises, downloads, and recommended reading are below the video. On mobile, the video will rescale when you play it.

Chairing Meetings – How to Deal with Challenging Participants

When you are chairing meetings there is always the chance you’ll have a difficult participant. And this can ruin your day and, worse, waste the time of other attendees. So, in this lesson, I’ll show you how to handle challenging participants.

First, we’ll look at 10 general strategies for handling challenging participants. Then we’ll look at 18 difficult behavior and the tactics you can use to deal with them.

Watching this Video is worth 7 Management Courses CPD Points*.
(See below for more details)

This video is part of course module number 2.3.2
Program 2: The Manager as Communicator
Course 3: Meetings
Section 2: Chairing Meetings

Primary videos that precede this video include:
– Planning Your Meeting https://youtu.be/u0hqoWIecNU
– Meetings as Conversations https://youtu.be/42kngpo0MPE
– Meeting Discipline https://youtu.be/NWLKP4Lk3BA
– Hosting the Meeting https://youtu.be/MyyoRz4fKP8
– Housekeeping https://youtu.be/U3PfBOBeqBY
– Managing the Meeting https://youtu.be/cRap-SJ8tpQ

Primary videos that follow this video include:
– How to Prevent Group Think https://youtu.be/J4dt_rjsEJU
– What to Do When Your Meeting Goes Wrong https://youtu.be/PuikZ7Z9hds
– How to Close Your Meeting https://youtu.be/S0V2-NsLFSs
– Meeting Minutes and Follow-up https://youtu.be/97j9Nq8UuGk

General strategies for dealing with challenging participants:
1. Help the group set ground rules
2. Ignore the behavior and hope it goes away on its own
3. Give it air-time, let the person vent, then don’t revisit
4. Redirect the response to another learner in the group
5. Use humor to diffuse an uncomfortable situation
6. Call-out the behavior
7. Let’s have a break…
8. …and a quiet word
9. … and move people around
10. Adjourn

Types of Difficult Behavior
– The Late arriver
– The Early leaver
– The Shy or Quiet One
– The Challenger
– The Know it All
– The Interrupter
– The Attacker
– The Backseat Driver
– The Center of Attention
– The Joker
– The Busy-busy
– The Email Addict
– The Gossip
– The Head shaker
– The Interpreter
– The Verbose
– The Broken Record
– The Sidebar

1. Spend some time reviewing this video and your notes. Make a cheat-sheet of strategies you can use for your meetings and paste it into your meeting notebook – or whatever you take to your meetings. (2 MC CPD Points)
2. Reflect on challenging participants and difficult behavior you’ve seen in the past. What types does it seem to fit? What would have been helpful strategies for dealing with those difficult participants? (2 MC CPD Points)
3. At your next two meetings, if you have any challenging participants, deliberately apply one or to of the strategies you have learned. After the meeting, reflect on what happened and how effective those strategies were. (2×2 MC CPD Points)

Free Resources
– CPD Tools – https://gum.co/MC-CPD
Paid resources
– Management Courses Onboarding Kit – https://gum.co/MC-ObK ($3)

– Running Meetings (HBR) https://geni.us/uTtzzH
– Meetings Suck https://geni.us/PnqAf
– Bad Meetings Happen to Good People https://geni.us/ehWHWW

Management Courses Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Points
You can record your Management Courses CPD points on our free, downloadable CPD record log.
Download it here: https://gum.co/MC-CPD

Each video has two levels of MC CPD points. For this video:
– If you simply watched the video, record 7 MC CPD points
– If you also carried out all of the recommended exercises, score a total of 15 MC CPD points

Links to our book recommendations are affiliated through Amazon


Seating Psychology in One-on-One Meetings
Power in the Meeting Room: Psychology of Seating Positions
Four Special Meeting Types and How to Run Them
Facilitated Meetings: How to Run a Facilitated Meeting
How to Chair Creative Meetings: Tools and Techniques
Chairing Meetings – How to Prevent Group Think
Chairing Meetings – What to Do when Your Meeting Goes Wrong
Chairing Meetings – How to Facilitate with Authority
Chairing Meetings – Setting Ground Rules
Chairing Meetings – How to Reduce Meeting Cost
Attending Meetings – Using Flipchart Effectively
Attending Meetings – Using Projector and Slides Effectively
Attending Meetings – Project Presence and Authority
Attending Meetings – Reduce Wasted Meeting Time
Chairing Meetings – Meeting Minutes and Follow-up
Chairing Meetings – How to Close Your Meeting
Chairing Meetings – Managing the Meeting
Chairing Meetings – Housekeeping for your Meeting
Chairing Meetings – Hosting the Meeting
Chairing Meetings – Meeting Discipline
Chairing Meetings – Meetings as Conversations
Chairing Meetings – Planning Your Meeting
Attending Meetings – Structured Response Formats
Attending Meetings – Making an Effective Meeting Contribution
Attending Meetings – Networking and Relationship Building
Attending Meetings – Preparing to Attend a Meeting
Attending Meetings – Are they the Best Use of Your Time?

Mike Clayton

About Mike Clayton 

Dr Mike Clayton is a (former) Project Manager and now a management educator. Having trained thousands of people at live workshops, seminars, and conferences, he now delivers training mainly via video. He has 14 books with international publishers and runs two successful YouTube channels. He is also the founder of OnlinePMCourses.com

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