I belong to an "in-person" critique group. I like the group and all, but we have one person that dominates all conversations. At our last meeting this person was talking for a good 35-40 minutes of the hour long meeting which 10 people attended. So the other 9 averaged about 2-3 minutes of speaking time each. The person is a decent writer and a decent critiquer. But the person talks non-stop. About themselves, about their writing, about their future writing projects.
This person is more of a regular than I am. I've been a member longer but took an extended break from the group due to a change in job. While I was gone, this person managed to dominate the group but no one (including me) has done anything to change it.
I tend to shy away from confrontation. Does anyone have any good suggestions for talking to this person? I think this person can be a valuable asset to the group, but I think other group members should get a chance to speak as well.
May 24th, 2006, 02:18 PM
Suggest that the group elect a "moderator" whose function would be to keep the discussion on focus.
May 24th, 2006, 04:36 PM
Seconded, someone should always chair any meeting otherwise it's a free-for-all. Also suggest you talk to others in the group and gang up on the person in question for a quiet word :)
May 24th, 2006, 05:57 PM
You might want to propose to the group that in order for everyone to get the chance to speak in such a large group, that a time limit be placed on each speaker. Each person will get 5 or 10 minutes to speak, after which someone else puts in their imput. If you do the moderator thing, the moderator would keep the time and tell each person when his time was up and who could speak next. This would effectively limit your talker, without having singled him out as the specific problem. It would also help make everyone else be concise. If the talker ran over his time, you/the moderator would remind him that it was the next person's turn, let him wrap up and then encourage the next person to speak. If he had more thoughts for the writer, encourage him and anyone with the same problem to write the extra notes down and give them to the writer -- much easier for the person being critiqued to absorb that way. If there ends up being extra time at the end of the meeting, you could let the talker ramble till it's time to leave.
May 24th, 2006, 07:00 PM
Kat's right, set a 10 minute rule. If the guy wants to go on about his project, let him do it after the meeting or before.
Subtle hints like him being the only one not to get a cattle prod might be missed.
May 24th, 2006, 09:31 PM
Clarions attendees have 3 mins each to speak and a timer gives them a 2 minute call so they know they have a minute to wrap it up. You could suggest a stopwatch and a little bell.
Just say you are too busy and you think the meetings go on too long. Also introduce 3 minute right of replies at the end so that no one can but into the speaker's 3 minutes until then.
Have a couple of axe weilders who don't mind holding the timer and calling out the 2 minutes and don't be afraid to say, "uh ahh, his 3 minutes," if someone starts butting in.
May 24th, 2006, 10:44 PM
Thanks for all the ideas! I'll see if I can work these in.