How do you deal with team members that ramble on and dwell on a subject?

Nike fEMS80
Mar 7 13 Comments

I’m looking for advice for how to take action and keep the team aligned during meetings. Focus and information overload are reoccurring issue that have caused meetings to consistently run over. What can be done in 30 minutes is usually done in an hour due to tangents.

Intrinsically, I know that solutioning should be kept to a minimum as it tends to steer the conversation away from completing action items. Unfortunately, I’ve voiced my concerns several times and the team fails to improve on that note.


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TOP 13 Comments
  • Expedia / Eng CQvV74
    Set an agenda ahead of time. If it is still a problem, time box each item.
    Mar 7 0
  • Microsoft pJcW86
    Related: how do you deal with it when it is your executive leader?
    Mar 7 3
    • Sirius XM TySkwieos8
      “I think it’s very important to figure that out and I’ll take it as an action item to send you a recommendation, but our time here is short and it’s hard to get on your calendar... we have X minutes left to figure this out. Now given Y, what is your stance on...”
      Mar 7
    • VMware BobbleHat
      Damm, that took 2 minutes to read. Just say “take it offline” then talk about the next topic.
      Mar 8
    • Sirius XM PaHwlm56
      Yeah, but if you’re a little long winded with it then you take the conversation back over and you end it with a question that redirects the discussion. Also, telling an exec to simply “take it offline” is not real tactful.
      Mar 8
  • Oracle now@google
    Set the agenda and stick to it. Let people know you want the meeting over in 30 min and “take offline” all tangents.
    Mar 7 0
  • Intel UGeJ58
    "Let's take that offline"
    Mar 7 0
  • Cisco UPhF72
    Set the agenda and clearly say what is the expected outcome from the meeting.
    Also talk to the key people well in advance if possible to get support
    Mar 7 0
  • Twitter Oomnj
    Have a speaking timer for 30 seconds. Say it’s to make sure it’s to give time to people who usually speak less
    Mar 7 0
  • Microsoft X9pl12
    Be focused on outcomes instead of raw discussion and if a conversation drifts away from the needed outcome, then remind folks what the point of the discussion was
    Mar 7 0
  • Sirius XM TySkwieos8
    Set an agenda and define the problem and a recommendation within the agenda. If it strays away from solving the problem, say “I think it’s important to solve that too, but we will need a separate discussion for it. Right now we need to evaluate whether the recommendation I’ve laid out solves the problem in the agenda.”
    Mar 7 0
  • Amazon bayyzoes
    Listen to them. They probably know more than you.
    Mar 7 0
  • Cerner asdftvf
    Fire those people who didn't understand importance of what you are trying to do
    Mar 7 0