Meeting rooms are no strangers to discord. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Understanding different personality types and how they interact can significantly influence meeting productivity. This applies for both in-person meetings and online discussions.
It comes as no surprise that personality traits affect teamwork. Some might be leaders, bring new ideas, or prefer to just take it all in. It is important to understand all the personality types in the meeting room — including your own! Only then can you leverage them to run a productive meeting.
The Four Personality Types
According to Cameron Herold’s Meetings Suck, there are four personality types that you will encounter in a meeting room. They are Dominant, Expressive, Analytical and Amiable.
As extroverts, they are not afraid to express their opinion. But they might sometimes forcefully push their points of view. They are self-assured and confident. Consider them the typical Type-A personalities. They may not have the best solutions, but they are willing to argue and prove that they are right.
How to work with Dominants during meetings?
Dominant individuals do not need much pushing to participate. However, they may hijack the conversation. This causes the meeting to go off-track. They may be so focused on getting their point across that they do not hear what others have to say.
It is important to let them know that their opinions and viewpoints have been heard. If you are leading the meeting, prompt others who have not spoken to speak up. This ensures that dominant attendees do not control the discussion.
The Expressive personality type is enthusiastic. They are emotional and excited. On top of that, they are eager to contribute. They love to be in the spotlight and thrive on popularity and recognition. They tend to think out loud and express their thought process before landing on a final opinion.
How to work with Expressives during meetings?
Like the Dominant type, Expressives tend to derail meetings. This leads to unproductive meetings where the agenda is not followed. Gently remind them to stay on track and allow others who have not spoken to participate. Encourage input from all attendees. This ensures that everyone’s opinion is heard. Establish ground rules before each meeting and create an environment where everyone is comfortable sharing their thoughts.
Analytical people tend to speak formally. They rarely maintain eye contact. They also use few gestures when speaking. They are introverts who think before they speak. Because of this, others think they are not interested in the discussion. Often, they keep their opinions and ideas to themselves and do not speak out.
How to work with Analyticals during meetings?
Prepare the agenda in advance and share all relevant documents. This will help the analytical personality type come to the meeting with their point of view. It gives them time to think through the issue and come up with creative solutions. Be patient and give them time to speak. Assure them that they add value to the meeting and help them recognize their own worth.
The Amiable individual will do anything to avoid rejection and conflict. They tend to go along with the general opinion. They often converse in a very relaxed manner, but become stubborn when forced to decide something. They feel that no one listens to their opinion. They might even feel like they don’t add value to meetings. It can be hard to express their ideas.
How to work with Amiables during meetings?
Call on them by name and ask for their views. When decisions are being made, ask each attendee if they accept the decision of the group. Encourage participants to be open to all points of view. This motivates them to take part in future discussions. Before the meeting ends, ask every team member to rate the meeting. This will weed out discontent and resentment.
Other Personality Types
In a survey conducted by Fuze, 92% of participants confessed to multitasking during meetings. This included other tasks like checking emails and keeping tabs on social media.
Precise people carry out their tasks with a lot of care. Give them a specific role during meetings, like taking down meeting notes. You can also get them to assign tasks when the meeting is over.
This person is creative. They are always bursting with new ideas. They love challenges and work well in situations that encourage trial and error.
The team player is enthusiastic. They help resolve conflicts. Usually, they are the first to take on assignments. They help drive the meeting forward and make it productive.
Interrupters are responsible for derailing meetings. This harms meeting productivity. They also stop other meeting participants from achieving the meeting’s objectives.
They like to disagree with everyone and find many reasons to show that something will never work. They are confrontational and challenging. If you encounter a Negator, stick to facts and end the argument as quickly as possible.
The unprepared attendee asks a lot of basic questions. These reveal that he is unprepared. He usually says something like: “I didn’t know we would be talking about that”. Precious time is wasted getting him up to speed.
Leveraging Meeting Personality Types
To make the best out of different meeting personality types, here are some tips.
1. Have a meeting plan.
One suggestion is to use a Statement of Achivement, according to Forbes. This is simply a sentence that says: “As a result of this meeting, we will have achieved ___.” Fill in the blank before the meeting. Share it with your team before and at the start of the meeting.
2. Create a compelling agenda.
The meeting agenda should clearly indicate the meeting topic, why the topic is important, and how meeting attendees can prepare.
3. Set rules for making decisions.
Lay out how how decisions will be made. For example, it can be based on votes, or an expert can have the final say. This can also involve consensus or bargaining.
4. Create a focal point.
For example, you can track your discussion by writing everything on a board. This helps direct everyone’s attention to a single point. Get all attendees to write down their ideas. The meeting facilitator can sieve through these ideas and share them.
5. End with questions.
What will be your personal achievement? When will you achieve it? Having attendees answer these questions helps to improve accountability and responsibility.
6. Reflect on how your meeting went.
You can ask questions to get input from your team members.
- Did we meet our Statement of Objective? If yes, to what extent?
- What would you like to do more of , during these meeting?
- What would you like to do less of, during these meetings?
If you always receive negative feedback, it is time to take a step back. You have to rethink why you are holding these meetings. Analyze if your meetings target the agreed upon objectives. Lastly, take the necessary measures to correct these.
Identify Your Personality Type
People often have a primary and secondary personality type. Figure out your primary and secondary types, and also those of your team. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each type. Develop ways to overcomes the negatives aspects of your personality. All this helps you contribute effectively during meetings.
If you are Dominants and/or Expressive, wait before jumping into conversations. Listen to what others have to say. Try and understand their point of view by asking questions. If you are Amiable and/or Analytical, understand that you have been invited to the meeting to add value. Don’t keep ideas and opinions to yourself. Make an effort to speak at least once during the meeting.
Personality does not have to be a source of conflict. Diverse personalities can be harnessed to achieve meeting greatness.