How Do You Handle Virtual Meeting Whiners?

Sure, in these unique circumstances and challenging times, opportunities are ripe for complaints. But the constantly complaining meeting participant searches for something to complain about. They make negative comments, and their negativity can be contagious.

How can we turn this complaining participant into a productive contributor who doesn’t drive everyone in the virtual meeting, webinar, or podcast, banana bread? Even if only a few of you are meeting face-to-face, they could derail your meeting progress.

Consider these constructive techniques for communicating with complainers during your presentations.

What To Do

  • Call them by name often
  • For group discussions, place complainers in the groups with several positive participants who want to be there
  • Involve them in some special way
  • Remain in control
  • Perhaps have a private conversation with the constant complainer during a break
  • Limit any negative person’s time to comment so you can reduce their contagious negativity
  • Allow them to get their frustrations out, and respond one of three ways:
    • Listen and then simply ask to move along
    • Listen and deal with the problem on the spot
    • Listen and promise to deal with it later or at the end

What Not To Do

  • Don’t take the whining and complaining personally.
  • Don’t respond with obvious irritation. Showing frustration reflects your lack of ability to handle the situation and reduces your credibility in front of the group.



To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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