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The Dominators on Zoom

Dear [Momma] Hattie,

I'm going bonkers!

My job is now 100 percent virtual. As a result, our twice-a-day staff meetings are done using Zoom. I don't have a problem utilizing the technology. What I do have a serious problem with is two of my colleagues who CONSTANTLY DOMINATE THE CONVERSATION.

They both talk basically non-stop from the time our staff meeting starts until we all log off. It's hard for me to stay focused because of their overwhelming behavior. I also believe others on our calls feel the same way, but for whatever reason, when I privately message them about this problem, they refuse to admit it.

This happens twice a day, every day, and by Friday morning, I am ready to jump out of my home office window...which is on the first floor.


How can I either address one or both of them about their obnoxious behavior?

Please tell me how to approach this so that I do not lose my mind.

- Sarah

Dear Sarah,

You mentioned that you have privately messaged others, and they refuse to admit it bothers them. It may not. Sad to say, but many people would relish the idea of a couple of people "taking over" so they can fade into the background.

My rule of thumb is to always go to the source. I believe in speaking to people honestly and respectfully. If you can talk to them together, maybe set up a private zoom meeting with just the three of you, let them know your feelings. No matter how kind your words, realize that some people will take it as a personal attack and get defensive. You may want to prepare for that


If speaking to them does not work and you cannot deal with it, the next step will be to go above them, talking to management or HR. Speaking of management, if these meetings are taking place twice a day with mainly two people are dominating the conversation, I have two questions:

  1. Are these meetings necessary?

  2. If they are required, what are the objectives?

You might want to ask those questions if you do not already know the answers.

Until you get answers or "the dominators" change their behavior, don't jump out your home office window just yet. Try preparing yourself by taking a deep breath before the meeting starts; put on some soft music you can focus on when they are off-topic or on a tangent.

One last suggestion, if you have something important to share with the group by loud! You can raise your voice above theirs (without yelling or sounding angry) and take over. You might be surprised when a "dominator" interrupts you; a colleague might stop them and say, "Hey! Be quiet, we would like to hear what Sarah has to say."

Love Lots; Smile Often



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