Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

How to take control of the meeting that's going nowhere

Next time you are stuck in an endless meandering meeting, don't just sit there and suffer in silence – take action, says Harvard Business Review.

We've all been stuck in long meetings that bounce aimlessly from one topic to the next. Instead of rolling your eyes, take control. Be brave enough to propose a solution:

1. Play dumb.

Story continues below advertisement

Ask someone in the room – preferably the strongest communicator – to help you understand what problem you're trying to solve and what needs to happen to resolve it.

2. Identify the decision-maker.

Sometimes meetings stall because no one knows who is responsible for the decision. Ask who that is and inquire whether he's ready to decide.

3. Get the right people in the room.

Are there absentees who need to be there? Suggest rescheduling for a time when all the stakeholders can be present.

Today's management tip was adapted from the book, Guide to Making Every Meeting Matter.

Report an error
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to