In every social gathering, whether it be a work /group discussion or meeting or even a one to one with a friend, their are those who not only “shout the loudest” or dominate the meeting, their are those who seem to love the sound of their own voice. They lack discipline, a meeting could be for only an hour they selfishly “hug the mic” this is where you need one HELL of a “no nonsense” moderator.

I have to be blatantly honest here, I have on occasion received a phone call from a colleague/friend and the first thing they have said is “Hello Nat, how are you?” and before I have a chance to answer the question they have dominated the conversation by talking all about themselves and I just have to listen as it was them calling me. Now if I happen to call them and they are HELL bent on taking over, this is my time, so I swiftly end the conversation. The blatantly honest part is sometimes I would put the speaker on and walk off to do my own thing and guaranteed when I get back they would still be talking.

This scenario also takes place in an important meeting when you are itching to say something, you have to write it down to remember it because the person who has taken ten minutes to put across their point is now going off the subject almost like they just need to talk and …… I miss my chance.

I am a person who feels that my input is just as valuable as the other persons and I am mindful and respectful of the group size and how much time there is. Another example is in self-help groups, unless you have a strict moderator the quiet and more introverted people will be unable to offload and often go unheard. It happens all the time.

The technique that I have tried to adopt, and I mean, really tried, is if you have a weak moderator who does not have the confidence to try and make sure that the silent ones get a chance to be heard then I tend to intervene in a mindful kind of way. I would say “I am aware that the clock is ticking and not many people have had a chance to speak so I will be quick” or I have a quiet word with the moderator after the meeting.

In every situation there has to be a balance.

It would be interesting to recognise how many people are totally irritated and are willing to stand up and make their voices heard.

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