The experience is a common one, no matter the workplace environment.

A meeting is called, and it’s immediately hijacked by the most extroverted or most confident member of the group. Before anyone in the room has had a chance to think, let alone say a word, the confident loudmouth is pushing the group into decisions, based on little more than the force of that person’s personality.

New research co-authored by professors at the University of Utah and Idaho State University shows that those confident meeting-usurpers are no more likely to find the correct answer to a problem than their quieter peers. And a simple change in meeting management can push the misinformed to the sidelines and let the truly knowledgeable members take over, resulting in better decision-making for the company and more-engaged employees putting their talents to full use.

“I spend a lot of time working in groups and committees, and it gets really frustrating because the people who project that they know what they’re talking about actually often don’t,” said Bryan Bonner, a professor of management and organizational behavior at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. “The reason confident people have a lot of influence is that the people around them aren’t really prepared to disprove what they’re saying. So I asked myself, ‘Can you figure out, using experiments, how you can separate the people who just sound like they know what they’re doing from the people who really do know what they’re doing?’ And it turns out you can, and it’s actually not that hard to do.”

Bonner and co-author Alexander Bolinger of Idaho State University studied groups through an exercise where they were gathered to collectively solve problems. One group started working straightaway, while the other was told to take a few minutes to explore the problems and consider the knowledge related to the questions at hand that each of the group members already possessed.

“Just having them do that, thinking about how they can bring their own knowledge to bear, those groups were no longer inordinately influenced by the overly confident people,” Bonner said. “What we found was that those groups were now giving weight to the experts in their group. Now they’re listening to the people who really know, and the confident people are influential if they know something, and not if they don’t.”

The groups who did not take the time to think were most likely to be influenced by the confident members of the group—with the result that their problem-solving performance was lower than the groups where the members took a few minutes to reflect on the knowledge they could contribute to their groups, framing knowledge as t