Some disruptions have taken the form of an attendee who arrives late and tends to be noisy getting themselves situated in the meeting. Another scenario is an attendee who attempts to hijack the seminar by talking extensively to the audience about their experience. As a lecturer, you ask why didn’t they conduct their own workshop if they want to speak extensively?
There are other examples to include those individuals who dominate the Q&A to those who converse with a fellow attendee during the meeting, etc.
While we want to believe everyone can demonstrate some degree of etiquette and appropriate behavior in meetings, that may not always be the case. Some techniques that can be effective to avoid or minimize these types of disruptions are as follows:
1) At the onset of starting the meeting, of course you go through some ground rules to include silence your mobile devices, refrain from asking questions until all of the information has been presented and ask that they ‘please’ be considerate of others attending the session by refraining from chatting or doing things that would create a distraction.
2) For those attendees who want to dominate the Q&A, I suggest that they hang around after the session in order that we can expand on the conversation in order that others can ask questions too. It’s done politely, but the message is delivered.
3) Start the session on time, which demonstrates respect for those attendees who arrive on time. For those individuals who arrive late, there is typically a room monitor who will ask guests to ‘quietly’ take a seat in the rear of the room to avoid disrupting the audience.
4) For those individuals who talk during the session, depending on the circumstances, politely ask them to take their conversation out the room as a courtesy for the other attendees
5) While it should be a given, always ask attendees to silence their mobile devices and refrain from texting in the meeting. Treat as a movie theater experience, don’t talk, don’t text – and no phone calls or pictures.