How to dim dominant types?

You may know them, those dominant types in meetings. Always the highest word and apparently heard without question. Do not accentuate them further, slow them down. Five tips from Debat.NL for less nuisance.

1. Start with someone else

Dominant types take the freedom they get and the rest themselves. Be very explicit in letting someone speak instead of a vague ‘Who wants to comment?’? Purposefully let others speak first. It forces them to listen.

2. Keep them in your blind spot

You have learnt how to look at people. But looking at nuisances is asking for trouble. Only look at your blind spot mirror the moment you need it.

3. Guided projectiles

Anyone who receives the word unannounced and unexpected creates a base for unguided projectiles. Always begin explicitly. ‘I would like Jack to elaborate on this’. Or even better: ‘Is there something you would like to add?’

4. Cut compliments short

If a dominant person gets going, the others soon start thinking to let it go its course. This is something you want to prevent. Cut it short in a tactful way the moment he starts to stray: ‘Interesting, Jack, thank you. I would like to go back to the question and would also like to ask Emily.’

5. Talk to them afterwards

Behaviour will not change magically. And not at all if you don’t start a discussion. Feedback afterwards asking the right question does work. You think ‘When will you finally shut up?’. But what you say is ‘I noticed you asked for a lot of time in the meeting. Can I ask what your goal was? Perhaps there is a shorter way.’ Dominant types? Their stubbornness is often inversely proportional to their confidence.

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