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I'm translating a book about behavior. What does a "side discussion" mean in the following context:

No side discussions, no joking at the expense of others, no interruptions, no cellphones, no handing off parts of the presentation to a subordinate.

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    "Side" is an adjective. "What kind of discussions?" -- "side discussions". To rephrase, "there should be no discussions deviating from the main topic". – CowperKettle Dec 28 '15 at 4:44
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A side discussion is referred to as a separate discussion having outside the main conversation.

Example: Two students in a class are having a conversation in a classroom while the professor is explaining. Their side discussion will lead them into missing any important information that may have been said.

When they say "No side discussions", it is because they don't want smaller discussions as it may lead to some information being unheard. Side discussion often cause disruption in a meeting, which is also why they are frowned upon.

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During a meeting, sometimes 2 participants will decide to discuss among themselves (but not leaving the meeting while doing it) some issue which has been raised. While doing this, they are not paying attention to the issue being presented or discussed by the majority. This is called a side meeting, as in the participants "pull aside" to have their discussion.

  • so you mean "a side meeting" is the same as "a side discussion"? – haile Dec 28 '15 at 10:26
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    Maybe yes, maybe no. Often a side meeting occurs after a meeting is over, inspired by something that came up during the primary meeting, but a side discussion (as far as I know) is always simultaneous with the primary, and the participants are no longer paying attention to the primary business. – WhatRoughBeast Dec 28 '15 at 16:13

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