We’ve been having so much fun with our latest video about decision making! If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out here:
Then we had a Tweet Chat where we talked about what worked in meetings and what didn’t. And one of the topics of our conversation during the chat revolved around the variety of characters that pop up in meetings. See if you can recognize any of these and maybe add some of your own!
- The Observer: Observers sit back and take it all in. They listen to all sides of the story and process all the information — inside themselves! You might think that they are un-involved and aloof, but nothing could be further from the truth. Observers may not say much, but when they speak, you better believe that all the info has been fully processed and thought out. A great strategy for making sure you don’t miss out on their insights, have people write their ideas down on cards, sticky notes or the whiteboard – then discuss each of them as a group.
- The Skeptic: You can easily identify this person by their signature phrase “We tried that before – and it didn’t work.” Skeptics have been there and done that. It’s like they get a little kick out of putting ideas down. You may be tempted to roll your eyes, but instead, be curious about why they say that. Dig deeper, you might learn something that will move the decision forward.
- The interruptor: As soon as you start to explain an idea — enter the interruptor. He or she has something to add that just can’t seem to wait. Some interruptors are “interactive learners” that means that they process information by asking questions. Sometimes they just get a little too excited to let the other person finish talking. The best way to deal with an interruptor is to acknowledge their enthusiasm for the subject and ask them to wait for you to finish.
- The Volunteer: “Put me in coach!” This is the person you can count on to step in and help. Whether that means taking notes, making copies or heading the next project. Volunteers are motivated by a variety of rewards; leadership, service or social interaction. Whatever the motivation — we love volunteers!
- The Hero: He or she swoops in on any challenge and does whatever it takes to hit the goal or the target. There are two versions of this person; one that authentically comes to the rescue, carries and leads the team to the finish line — and the other one who sees him or herself as the Lone Ranger. Heros are either loved or hated, it just depends on whether their motivation is ego or goal.
- The Pollyanna: This is the meeting style everyone loves to hate. This person sees the best in any situation and circumstance. Give them a problem and they see an opportunity. They are full of ideas and possibilities. But look out, while they love starting new things, finishing can be challenging for them. Make sure you put structures in place that make it easier to finish what you’ve started.
- The Brown-Noser: Also known as the “yes-man”. If you’re the boss, you may have mistaken this person as your trusted source of truth, but you should be wary of someone who always agrees with you.
- The Tangent Taker: You know who you are. Tangent takers are folks who have uncanny abilities to create connections between the conversation that’s going on and something completely off-topic. Not only that, they are engaging conversationalists and can enroll an entire boardroom in the discussion. While it’s great to have a diversion from a heavy discussion or comic relief in a long meeting, don’t be afraid to let the interruptor go to work to get things back on track. Or better yet, this person:
- The Summerizer: This is the person who consistently either brings the group back on topic or decision at hand or has the uncanny ability to actively listen and summarize what’s been said so far. This is always a great personality to have in a meeting because they are able to speak back what’s been said and when participants hear the summary they can make sure that there is clarity around the decisions that are being made.
- The Smartphone Sneaker: We all fall into this category now and then — especially if we have a mobile device addiction. You can easily spot this person sneaking a peek at their lap where they are hiding their smartphone and texting or checking email or Twitter or Facebook. You might only hope that they are actually looking at their QuestionPro App to confirm survey data that might be useful for the discussion (probably not, though).
We’ve got lots of other meeting personality types that we brainstormed for this article such as; the Table Tapper or Pen Twirler, Silent Plotter and Delegator — I’m sure you’ve got your descriptions for those folks.
But now it’s your turn — what meeting personality styles have you seen? What’s their impact on decision making inside your meetings and what are your tips for dealing with them?