Whenever you’re meeting with a group, diverse meeting personalities emerge. Sometimes they work in harmony, fostering collaboration, creativity, and ultimately, productivity. However, occasionally more dangerous personalities bubble to the surface, personalities that have the capability to empower your meetings if properly handled, or ruin them if left unchecked. Here are 7 of the worst offenders and suggestions on how to manage them.
1) The Multitasker
The Multitasker, like many of us, has their smartphone with them at all times. It might as well be an extension of their arm for how unwilling they are to put it down. During your meeting, they’re going to be checking e-mails, scheduling other meetings, and answering texts or IMs instead of paying attention.
The Multitasker isn’t necessarily a detriment to your meetings, however. You could enforce a no-tech rule or call them out for not paying attention, but instead try engaging them where they already are – if they’ve got their smartphone handy, have them look up some relevant stats, remind everyone of the e-mail that went out earlier or the schedule for the rest of the day. Put their texting fingers to work for you and your meeting.
2) The Disrupter
The Disrupter is a powerful personality, capable of both destroying and enhancing your productivity. They’re the ones who introduce the tangents, the curve balls, the “Have we thought of this?” questions that can jump-start your team’s creativity – or send it down a rabbit hole that eats up your time without actually accomplishing anything.
Don’t be afraid to rein in your resident Disrupter if your meeting already has a full plate. Something as simple as asking them to jot their idea down so it doesn’t get lost or e-mail it out to the team after the meeting can keep you on track while still letting them feel that their ideas are being heard.
3) The Class Clown
The Class Clown can be a fun addition to any meeting, with a well-timed witty remark relieving tension or breaking up an awkward silence. But occasionally they can go overboard in their need to be the funniest meeter in the room, insisting that the meeting take a break to see the hilarious new cat meme or YouTube sensation they’ve found.
The easiest way to reign in an overzealous Class Clown is to give them what they want: give them the floor first thing to show the undoubtedly hilarious new internet gem they’ve found. It will loosen up the room, give your Class Clown the satisfaction they’re looking for, and get your meeting off to a creative start.
4) The Mobile Meeter
The Mobile Meeter loves meeting on the go – they’re most at home at the coffee shop, waiting for a flight, or just sitting on the couch in their pajamas. They tend to be incredibly driven, hopping on e-mails and assignments regardless of when or where they’re received. They’re always on the lookout for new tech toys to enhance their mobility, whether it’s a fancy new Bluetooth headset or the latest version of their favorite mobile app.
The most important thing about being or managing a successful Mobile Meeter is having the right mobile meeting software; otherwise you’re going to be dealing with clunky interfaces, poor audio quality, and unintuitive features. Consider iMeet Mobile or iMeet HD for your next mobile meeting – they’re effortless to use on the go.
5) The Long-Winded
The Long-Winded meeter isn’t necessarily trying to derail your meeting, but it inevitably happens. Quite frankly, they’re generally either extremely knowledgeable or just the type of person that needs to think out loud. However, after a fifteen minute diatribe through their thought process, the rest of your meeting is going to be sound asleep!
The Long-Winded meeter is also usually guilty of starting meetings within meetings, and they can be dealt with similarly – politely interject that perhaps another meeting on that subject is required, or an e-mail discussion to really get the ball rolling. But peoples’ time is valuable and your current meeting’s objectives should be met in the time allotted.
6) The Serial Meeter
The Serial Meeter’s calendar is constantly full, covered with overlapping meeting after overlapping meeting. They’re perpetually running from one conference room to the next or hopping out of one virtual meeting room and into another. They’re pretty easy to identify from their trademark catchphrase: “Sorry about that!” usually uttered as they’re rushing in five minutes after the meeting has started.
Depending on how essential your particular Serial Meeter is to your meeting, oftentimes it’s not a big deal to kill the first few minutes chit-chatting while you wait for them to arrive (or better yet, by catering to the needs of the Class Clown as mentioned above). An alternative for your Serial Meeter is to give them the option to join the meeting remotely through a conferencing solution like iMeet® or GlobalMeet®; with intuitive virtual meetings, you can spare the Serial Meeter the jog from one conference room to the next.
7) The Naysayer
The Naysayer does just that – shoots down every idea your team comes up with without ever suggesting anything useful themselves. They’re the masters of why something cannot be done. Oftentimes this is because they really are experts in a lot of the systems in your company; however the constant negativity can be devastating to productivity and morale.
To prevent the Naysayer from torpedoing your meeting, engage them whenever they chime in; force them to dig into the why of their rejection and challenge them to help the team creatively solve the problem in a way that will meet even their stringent criteria.
If you keep an eye out for the warning signs of these dangerous meeting personalities, you can keep your meetings productive and on-track.
What dangerous personalities plague your meetings? Do you work with a Naysayer or Multitasker? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet us at @PGi!