Sometimes you begin a meeting or training event with one set of objectives – and it quickly becomes apparent that a significant number of those there have a completely different agenda.

So what do you do? Do you insist on sticking rigidly to the programme despite the atmosphere, failing to engage anyone or get anything done? Or do you acknowledge and deal with the elephant?

If you don’t do something about it, it can make a lot of noise and an incredible mess

So accept that it’s there, set aside an agreed time limit to pay it some attention and get it off everyone’s minds. Then you can gather their attention back to the objectives of the day.