Facilitation Antipattern: Orator

Posted by Doc
Feb 21 2009

oratorMotto: I’m worth listening to.
: I know that people love to hear what I have to say because I’m so articulate and I have such a way with words.
: Dominates the conversation by talking. And talking. And talking. Not malicious, just unable to hear anyone besides herself.
Characteristics: Relentless, verbose, determined.

The Orator likes to hear the sound of her own voice. While she believes that she has a lot of value to contribute, it frequently seems as though her focus is on what she has to say, rather than whether it’s interesting or valuable to you.

The Orator’s self-focus is not malicious. She isn’t trying to dominate or manipulate. She just has a lot to say, and frequently will use ten words where one will do.

The Orator is very pleased with what she has to say and the sound of her own voice, seems to be able to talk endlessly without taking a breath, and rarely leaves an opening for someone else to speak until she’s good and ready.

The damage to the team is similar to many of the other antipatterns, regardless of whether the Orator is the facilitator or a member of the meeting. Her dominance of the proceedings through relentless takeover of the floor causes others to resign their passion, and become reluctant to even try to say something.

Exercises that force a democratic process, like the Circle of Questions or Starfish, are best for dealing with an Orator in the meeting.

If you are the facilitator and you are an Orator, well,…

5 Responses

  1. Twitter Comment

    Chat Catcher Test

  2. John Kordyback says:

    I struggle with Orators in meetings so I found this antipattern and solutions extremely helpful.

  3. Ana says:

    This is a bit silly, but… I’ve been reading about the patterns and antipatterns in your blog and this is the first one I read with specified gender (through use of the female pronoun). I have to say it sounds a bit like prejudice, that an orator will most often be a female. Shouldn’t every pattern/antipattern be explained in neutral terms, like in the case of “the evil genius”?

    • Doc says:

      No intentional prejudice there, although it’s an interesting observation. I think I became aware that I was always using the male gender at about that time, and just switched on that one. Nothing intentional.

      I suppose they could all be neutral, although that feels like a cop-out.

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