Monday, October 6, 2008

Meeting Etiquette: Don’t Allow a Time Hog to Steal the Show

I listened to a teleseminar that was billed as a panel about authors using social media to promote their books. Instead, one caller hogged the time asking question after question about how to get on Twitter, how to follow someone on Twitter, how to reply to someone on Twitter, etc.

The host of the teleseminar did not stop this caller from hogging the time nor did the panelists stop him. Indeed, they all continued to answer his questions.

What should have happened? The host or a panelist should have said: “We’ll have to continue this conversation offline as this isn’t the focus of the teleseminar.”

A half hour into the hour-long teleseminar I finally hung up. Why should I continue to listen to someone getting personal instructions on how to use Twitter?

If you’re in high school, college or on your first real job, what’s the moral of this story for you?

If you are a moderator or a panelist in a similar time hog situation, you should be prepared to politely end the time hog’s monopolizing and to return to the stated subject of the meeting or presentation.

And if you are the time hog, don’t be. In other words, learn to be considerate of the other people participating in a meeting or presentation. If you require detailed instructions on a subject that is off the spine of the meeting or presentation, do so outside of that meeting or presentation.

If you are worried that you might not have another chance to ask your questions, then you can politely ask for a suggestion as to where to get the additional info that you need.

Whatever you do, don’t get the reputation of a time hog or of someone who lets a time hog take over the show. Be considerate of the other participants and stick to the spine of the meeting or presentation.

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