How disagreeable are your meetings?

We had some wild stories at our workshop on “difficult board chair or member.” One person commented, “Seems like Zoom makes all interactions tougher and bolder.” While the norm has not descended to the level of the Handforth Parish Council (see this internet sensation here, or search for “Jackie Weaver”), clearly many meetings are problematic.

We took a poll about actions that merit sanction. Another attendee asked us to share those results, saying, “It would really help me in my discussions with Council and public to let them know that human behavior is what is challenging us, not just individual behavior.” I thought that our readers might find this poll interesting as well. You will note that four-fifths of the attendees have experienced members failing to observe the rules of discussion.

Sanctionable Actions Poll - February 2021

Which of these actions have you observed in a local government body? (Check as many as apply)
Failing to offer courtesy and respect31/4274%
Using foul or abusive language18/4243%
Failing to observe the rules of discussion: interrupting others, speaking out of turn, speaking beyond established time limits33/4279%
Violating the confidentiality of executive session.13/4231%
Failing to observe ethics guidelines22/4252%
Taking actions outside that meeting that attempt to undermine a board decision28/4267%

This is a selective response, of course, since by definition people who seek out a workshop on difficult people are dealing with difficulties! How about you? Are your meetings going smoothly? Send us an email. 

And if you decide you’d like help, we offer our self-paced course “Difficult Board Chair or Member” at this link. 


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Ann Macfarlane

Ann G. Macfarlane is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. She offers an interactive and user-friendly way to master the key points for effective, efficient and fair meetings. Her background as a diplomat and Russian translator enables her to connect with elected officials and nonprofit board directors and give them the tools they need for success. She is the author of Mastering Council Meetings: A guidebook for elected officials and local governments.