Posted by: kerrywills | February 12, 2016

Having a One-on-One with several spectators

I spend most of my workday in meetings. Many of these meetings are comprised of dozens of people listening and maybe even a few participating. Oftentimes what happens is that a specific subject arises where one person has a strong opinion and starts having a back-and-forth with another person. This can go on for many minutes while everyone else on the call listens in, multi-tasks or zones out.


As the two people debate their topic, this is the rest of us….

Once in a while the topic is relevant for the rest of the participants, but most times it is better solved ‘offline.’ Usually the two people don’t have the awareness or presence to take the subject offline or move the conversation forward. This is when someone needs to facilitate the conversation so that it can progress to meet the meeting objectives and get back on track.

We need to be conscious of when it is appropriate to raise topics and when it is best solved in a different forum. We also need to ensure we have the right facilitation so that these side topics don’t take over the entire agenda.



  1. […] Kerry Wills describes another meeting failure mode: a one-on-one with several spectators. Take it off line, guys … […]

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