Meeting personality types – which one are you?

In his 2008 book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness,” for a person to become very good at something. Quick calculations of my own reveal it would be highly possible for an individual to attend 10,000 meetings throughout the course of their career (based on starting work at 18 and retiring at 65), averaging at slightly less than one meeting a day. So in theory, by the age of 65, we could have become world-class meeting experts!

But as many of us know, meetings can often bring out the worst in people, and particularly when personality types clash. For those who are schedule-driven, for example, there’s nothing worse than the unexpected interruption of an impromptu, unplanned meeting. US comedy duo Tripp and Tyler (who we are already fans of) bring this to life perfectly in their hilarious video ‘Every Meeting Ever’, which offers a satirical view of the behaviours and personality traits than can easily surface within meetings. I’m sure you’ve come across every one of these personality types, and there’s a good chance that one may resonate with you personally…!

The short video features:

The Time Nazi, who “cares more about staying on track than he does his first-born child”. This is the person who will be continually sighing and checking their watch, making you feel like you should be speaking in abbreviated sentences.

The get here when you can guy who isLate. Every. Time”. Yes, we all know one of these, who also has the tendency to forget that their lateness impacts on everyone and everything else.

The Negator who“can find a hole in anything.” The phrase “there are no bad ideas; every idea is a good idea” has never been less true when you find yourself in a meeting with one of these!

Ol’ Thin Skin who is“perpetually offended,” and who may often end up at loggerheads with the Negator.

W.T Ephraim who “proves there is such a thing as a bad idea.” In my own experience, these sorts of individuals favour wacky, completely unthinkable ideas that will never see the light of day, yet they never seem to appreciate this.

The Rambler who is “able to fit one sentence into 14 paragraphs,” and if left to their own devices, may labour on one agenda point for an hour.

The Dominator who has“never heard a better idea than his own.” Often an extrovert who likes the sound of their own voice, this individual can have the annoying habit of interrupting and speaking over everyone else.

The Social Networker who is “fully present (somewhere else).” This builds a very good case for banning mobile phones and laptops within meetings.

The Underachieving Scribe who is “the best at taking the worst notes.” I might be one of these, having created my own shorthand which I often struggle to interpret afterwards…

The Leader…” by title only…obviously.” If you’re regularly completing less than 1% of the agenda within the meetings you attend, the leader could easily be the root cause.

If you’re regularly struggling with a clash of personality types within your virtual meetings, here are a few tips to help smooth out differences:

  1. Use the ‘record’ meeting functionality, to helpfully replace the underachieving scribe.
  2. Make use of the ‘chat’ pane, for meeting participants to submit their ideas. This will create a more level playing field, preventing the ‘Dominator’ from seizing too much control, and dissuading the ‘Rambler’ from rambling too much!
  3. When ideas and decisions are involved, use the ‘polling’ functionality for anonymous and democratic voting to ensure that everyone has an equal say. This will also help to diplomatically highlight the good ideas over the bad ones, without causing too much offense.
  4. Encourage participants to ‘mute’ themselves while another person is talking, to prevent unhelpful and unwanted interruptions by the Dominator or Negator who may be present.
  5. Put a Social Networker in charge of any visual or collaboration tools being used during the virtual meeting, in order to keep them occupied and busy, while also utilising their social networking skills.
  6. Set calendar invites for five minutes before the meeting is due to begin, allowing additional time for the ‘get here when you can guy’ to login and check audio.

We hope you enjoy the video, and if you have any meeting personality types of your own to add, we’d love to hear about them below!

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