Have you ever walked into a meeting room and had this déja vu feeling? It’s like you see the same meeting behavior over and over again. And you’re right. Most probably, you have a déja vu experience.
There are certain types of people that you come across in every meeting room. Here at Minute, we have them. We know you have them too.
That’s why we decided to put together a list of the 10 most typical behaviors and how to deal with them. Check it out and see if you recognize any of them.
1. The person who talks too much
We all know this type.
The guy or gal with a slightly inflated ego who considers meetings the perfect place to hold an hour long monolog. That person goes on and on and on. When someone tries to interrupt or, at least, steer the monolog in a different direction, they’re abruptly interrupted.
And the monolog continues.
There’s not much that’s as unpleasant as sitting through one of these meetings. For example, for most people, things that feel more meaningful would include rush hour traffic, being kept on hold during a customer service call, or having to watch an episode of The Kardashians.
But is there anything you can do to get your co-worker to let someone else speak?
Here’s what you should do:
At your next meeting, simply cut your co-worker short by saying: “Let’s hear from others now” or “Let’s move on so we have time to go over our other topics.”
2. The person who says nothing and only nods
Now this is a classic:
At every single meeting, there’s that one person who doesn’t say a word during the meeting.
Instead, he or she nods frantically to everything that’s being said, even contradictory arguments. This meeting participant could as well be invisible. There are probably reasons why your co-worker doesn’t speak up. For example, he or she might have this irrational fear that everyone will burst out laughing the minute he or she starts talking. In reality, and unless your organization is seriously wacky, no one will laugh.
The thing is, meetings are for teamwork. Meaning, if someone doesn’t contribute, there’s no point that this person attends the meeting.
3. The person who agrees with everything
You know how you’re at a meeting, and there’s that one person who agrees with everything.
This person is almost as bad as the silent and nodding meeting participant. Neither of them contributes to the meeting in a meaningful way. The only difference is that this person actually talks. But not coming with own opinions and insights is just as bad as remaining silent.
Here’s a challenge for you:
At your next meeting, ask the co-worker in question a specific question. For example: “You have experience of this issue. What problems did you encounter and how did you solve them?”.
4. The know-it-all
There’s always a know-it-all.
This is the meeting participant who won’t listen to other arguments or opinions. He or she certainly doesn’t take any feedback.
All in all, know-it-alls make meetings somewhat pointless. After all, you hold a meeting to get input from the whole team on a specific subject. So what can you do about your know-it-all co-worker?
You don’t want to call him or her out during the meeting. That can easily turn into a nasty situation. Instead, say something like: “Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it. But now I’d love to hear what Lisa has to say about this issue.” That steers the attention away from the know-it-all to someone else. You can also talk to him or her after the meeting.
Make sure you point out that you appreciate the input. At the same time, explain that you feel like he or she is talking over you, which makes you feel undervalued.
5. The person who speaks all the time but doesn’t say anything
You KNOW this person.
The meeting participant who talks and talks. Except, he or she never says anything of substance. In other words, this meeting participant rambles and talks about nothing specific, a minor detail or something else that’s highly irrelevant. Not only does it drive you and your colleagues crazy, but it also prolongs your meeting and makes everyone feel uncomfortable.
So what can you do about your rambling colleague?
Here are a few solutions:
First, ask questions to steer the discussion in a particular direction. That way, the rambler has to talk about a specific thing. Second, put time limits on the discussion. For example, you can tell everyone that they have 5 minutes to explain their opinion so that everyone has a chance to talk during the meeting.
6. The naysayer
Is there anything that’s more frustrating than having to deal with a naysayer during a meeting?
Everything’s impossible, according to this person. He or she loves to shoot down every suggestion. This person probably thinks he or she is doing your organization a favor by stopping unfruitful projects in their tracks. But at the same time, he or she is preventing any breakthrough brainstorming from happening at your meetings.
Is there anything you can do to move past the naysayer’s negative reply?
Indeed, there is.
The next time you’re confronted with a naysayer, say something like: “Thanks for your input, I hear what you’re saying. For a moment, can we focus on how this project could work?” or “I see. How could we work around those drawbacks?”.
“Is there anything that’s more frustrating than having to deal with a naysayer during a meeting”?
7. The devil’s advocate
If you could choose between the rambler and the devil’s advocate, I’m pretty sure you’d choose the rambler…
…Because a meeting participant who constantly positions himself or herself as the devil’s advocate is absolutely infuriating. That’s not to say that devil’s advocates are never needed.
Sometimes the devil’s advocate does play a crucial role. When you’re launching a new project, you certainly want to ensure that you have considered all possible drawbacks. But during ordinary meetings, a person who constantly scrutinizes what others say is wasting time and testing co-workers’ patience.
The problem is that at meetings, most devil’s advocates want to discuss mundane, unimportant details.
What can you do about it?
There are a few ways in which you can get the devil’s advocate to focus on the main issue. For example, come prepared to the meeting and get your facts straight. At least, this makes it much harder for the devil’s advocate to argument against you. Or you can put the focus on the main goal that benefits all.
If the devil’s advocate makes sweeping statements like: “This will never work,” you can instead point to the fact that similar projects have been successful in similar departments or organizations.
8. The saboteur
Every meeting has them…
The saboteur does anything in his or her power to sabotage a meeting. This person will take calls, argue about irrelevant details or anything else that derails the meeting. In other words, a total nightmare.
Here’s what you can do to stop the saboteur in his or her tracks:
If your saboteur is a notorious email checker, you can directly address him or her with a question to get his or her full attention. Alternatively, you can take a one-on-one discussion to see if there’s anything that frustrates your co-worker.
9. The person who makes fun of everything
In every meeting room, there’s this one person…
Someone who undermines everything others do. This person finds everything exhilarant. The truth is that while he or she does not appreciate what others have to say, this attitude is probably rooted in a lack of self-confidence. That’s why it’s easier said than done to get your co-worker to stop making fun of everything.
However, here’s what you can do:
First, boost your co-worker’s confidence. If there’s something he or she has done well, let everyone in the meeting room know about it. At the same time, don’t forget to boost others. Second, the next time your co-worker starts making fun of a suggestion or idea, ask him or her to bring forward alternative ideas.
10. The person who is there but not really
Do you recognize this meeting participant?
He or she constantly checks emails and social media and is mentally somewhere else. Alternatively, this person is taking so many notes that he or she doesn’t follow the discussion.
Most of us know at least one such person. Still, you would value your co-worker’s input. After all, everyone is in the meeting room for a reason.
To get your co-worker to look up from the phone, address him or her directly. If this doesn’t work, you can ban phones and laptops from your meeting room and record the meeting so that no one needs to take notes during your discussions.
“Recognize this? He or she constantly checks emails and social media and is mentally somewhere else”.
Do you recognize any of these people?
Chances are that you have at least a few of them in your organization. While they can be amusing and entertaining, their behavior can have a major impact on your meetings. For example, meeting effectiveness and employee happiness might be at stake.
How are you going to improve your organization’s meetings? Let me know in the comments below!