Have you ever been in a meeting where a lot of empty words are voiced because no one dared to say what it was really about? There are few things more irritating, especially if you’re the secretary. But colleagues who take refuge in vague generalisations or too much jargon are not the only obstacle that you can encounter in the meeting room. To help you get the most from your meetings this week, we’ve identified some of the characters that you might come across. Hopefully this will enable you to better deal with difficult situations and waste less precious time and energy at meetings.
Character 1: The ‘disruptor’
They forget to switch off their mobile phone, are frequently called out of the meeting for rush jobs or spend the meeting whispering to the people sitting next to them. Do you get irritated with people like that? If so, you’re faced with a ‘disruptor’. And the solution is for the chairperson to make clear agreements before the meeting kicks off. Smartphones should be set to silent, colleagues should be available only for real emergencies and socialising should be left for the breaks.
Character 2: ‘King Kong’
King Kong is at his best when he’s sitting on his rock at the zoo. And when he’s sitting there, he simply can’t be stopped whenever he brings up a subject for discussion – he just goes on and on. Because this ‘gorilla’ always wants to be right. So how can you shut him up? By good timing! If there are ten minutes planned for the ‘gorilla’s’ item on the agenda, he will have to halt his monologue after five minutes, otherwise there will be no time for discussion.
Character 3: ‘Silent Sal’
The ‘quiet one’ detests meetings. He’s only there because he feels that he has to be, and he thinks that he will get absolutely nothing out of it. Being quiet doesn’t seem like a source of irritation but it certainly is! Because what’s the use of having him there? If you want to activate the ‘quiet one’, the chairperson must let him know what’s expected of him and how it can benefit him. Because the ‘quiet one’ might yet turn out to be the hidden gem of the meeting!
More characters: The ‘dinosaur’, the ‘nitpicker’ and others...
Recognise any of your colleagues in these characters? And would you like to know how to deal with them? There are many more than we’ve mentioned here. Don’t underestimate the impact of the ‘dinosaur’ and the ‘nitpicker’, for example. You can read more about them in our e-book, in which you will find a lot of tips for dispensing with long, slow meetings once and for all. And for breathing new life into your meeting routine!