Meeting Offense: How do I deal with distracting side conversations at work?

Q: How can I handle disruptive behavior in a business meeting?  In addition, how do I handle theses same behaviors, such as side conversations, in a work setting?



A: In general, the person running the meeting would politely ask that person to stop.  For example, “John, I would appreciate your attention.”  If someone next to you is being disruptive, it would be appropriate for you to say something like, “John, excuse me but I’m trying to listen.”  In the workplace, if co-workers’ conversations are disruptive to your work, you may politely explain that their conversation is making it difficult for you to work.  The same holds true for other distractions such as noise.  If this doesn’t work, you may bring the matter to the attention of your supervisor.

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