How to Redirect a Meeting Monopolizer

By:  Helen M. Thamm, APRN, CPC
May 15, 2012

Ever been in a meeting where one person talks and talks and TALKs and either repeats her point over and over or talks around the subject?  About the only thing those folks inspire from the rest of the team is a strong desire to “space out” or maybe even think about “checking out”!

If no one intervenes and helps the over talker “bottom line” what he says, (i.e. shorten up and focus to share his thoughts succinctly) he is likely to just keep on talking.  Monopolizers don’t even seem to be in contact with whether anyone is paying attention as they tend to lack self awareness and how their behaviors make a negative impact on others.  They often are not even aware they engage in long and sometimes boring monologues, rather than being part of healthy give and take interactions with their peers.  As a result, meetings can often run overtime as well and important items on an agenda may not even have time to be addressed.  Therefore it is really important for the facilitator (or a confident, assertive peer) to help redirect them, so all who wish to can give their input and feel valued.

Important Points to Remember to Effectively Help Redirect a Meeting Monopolizer

In order to help people with these issues to bottom line their ideas and in the process show respect for the rest of the team, it is important for the facilitator to be tactful and gentle, as these  people tend to  have sensitive egos.  Here of some of the tips from facilitators who have successfully redirected over talkers:

  1.  Wait for the person to “take a breath”  then ask her for clarification of a major point.
  2. Compliment the person on a pertinent point he shared, then remind him of the need to move on with the agenda.
  3. Thank the person for her ideas and then ask for the team’s feedback.
  4. If the person tends to cut people off when he is excited to share a personal viewpoint, the facilitator in a calm voice can simply say “excuse me, I need to hear the rest of what … was sharing”. Hopefully soon a peer who was being cut off can become confident enough to say the “excuse me, I wasn’t finished with what I was sharing” himself or herself.
  5. Use a time keeper to keep the meeting flowing from topic to topic covered in the agenda to help keep those who otherwise might tend to wander off topic more focused.
  6. Use a round robin format for meetings.  i.e. let the group know that you want to hear from each member of the group, allowing anyone who wishes to pass if she wishes.
  7. Give positive feedback when a long-winded talker does “bottom line” what he has to say.

Facilitating meetings is always a bit of a challenge because you may have a diverse set of personalities in your group (The DISC Personality Profile which can be found online, is a great, brief test that can help a leader discern the needs and fears of each personality style, including the most talkative type, and therefore better engage each member of a team).To mold a really fantastic team, it is important to create an atmosphere of cooperation, not competition.  Often meeting monopolizers want to be the focus of attention in order to prove how much they know, which may stem from their own belief in their need to prove their worth.  Therefore always remember to be gentle when redirecting them, as their feelings tend to easily be hurt.

Intervene Quickly to Avoid Long-term Consequences

What is important as a leader, however, is to intervene quickly or the meeting monopolizer like the old Packman game gobblers will consume your whole meeting.  Redirecting him/her shows respect for all members of the team and is important to help the leader build credibility.  Showing respect for all members of a team is paramount for building a healthy workplace!


Do you want to use this article in your next newsletter or website? You can, as long as you include the below Authors Bio and link to the website:

About the Author:  Helen Thamm, APRN, CPC is a licensed nurse therapist in Illinois and Wyoming as well as a Certified Professional Coach, who is a career and wellness specialist. You can obtain free tips on career success and wellness issues at and you can listen to her career success radio series on the Events Page.  Leadership challenges are creatively overcome in her new manager’s success toolkit book:  “How to Manage with a Magic Wand (No, Don’t Hit Your “Problem Employees” over the Head with it!)” and work/life re-balance in the bestseller “The Wellness Code” co-authored with Dr. John Ellis, et al which are available at  Helen can be reached for questions at:


Read other articles written by Helen…