Please, Know When to Shut Up in Meetings

Here’s a common problem in teleconference meetings: some people just don’t know when to shut up to get a point across.

This includes folks who keep making the same point over and over again, and do not understand the concept of “less is more.”

Although this happens in face-to-face meetings as well, it is more common in virtual meetings because the presenter can’t read his or her audience’s visual cues to know whether they’re still actively listening.

In the spirit of knowing when to shut up, I’ll keep this post short and simple, and show a graph of how I think the audience’s interest level reacts to the presenter’s talking time.

So how do you know where you are on the curve?

That’s not an easy question to answer, but here are three possible cues that you’re going downhill:

  1. Uncomfortable Silence: As in, you hear crickets chirping on the phone.
  2. Someone drops a hint: Such as, “Hey, I think in the interest of time, we should discuss the next topic.
  3. Someone says it: Such as “I think we just abused this point to death and everyone got it the first time you said it, next topic please.

For the love of God, please don’t reply to #3 with “Ok, but just to make sure, I want to repeat this one more time for the entire team…

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2 responses to “Please, Know When to Shut Up in Meetings

  1. That teleconference curve can be a slippery slope! I’ve been in a few where where cues 2 and 3 are missing because the person in charge never leaves enough time for that awkward silence…

  2. I think this applies to people’s blog posts and articles and I have been guilty of this a few times. I recently had an editor give me great advice, “stop trying to say what you mean and just say it, then stop talking”.
    Short, sweet and to the point is the best method.

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