About seven years ago I signed up for a weeklong workshop called ‘Finding Your Career Path!’ or something like that. (I know there was an exclamation point involved and I was in a professional rut.) One day we spent an entire session taking one of those colour coded personality tests.
Turns out I’m a blue/green personality type. That basically means I’m a sensitive, poetic nurturer who just wants everyone to get along but also has an investigative mind constantly in search of knowledge backed up by factual evidence. Explaining that blue/greens probably aren’t suited to working in TV, the workshop leader advised me to get out of that industry completely.
More recently, I discovered my Meeting Personality type. It’s not a real personality typing system but a satirical take on the major behavioral roles people tend to assume during meetings. The main meeting personalities are depicted as follows in a hilarious video by collaboration provider Air Tame:
– The Time Nazi: Cares more about staying on track than he does his firstborn child.
– Get Here When You Can Guy: Late. Every. Time.
– The Negator: Can find a hole in anything.
– Ol’ Thin Skin: Perpetually offended.
– WT Ephraim: Proves there is such thing as a bad idea.
– The Rambler: Able to fit one sentence into 14 paragraphs.
– The Dominator: Never heard a better idea than his own.
– The Social Networker: Fully present (somewhere else).
– Visual Presentation: Never worth the hassle.
– Underachieving Scribe: The best at taking the worst notes.
– The Leader: By title only…obviously.
These are funny because there’s a grain of truth to them. When you’re a manager trying to hold an important meeting, however, dealing with all these personalities around one table is no barrel of laughs. Fortunately, technology can help bring order to the proceedings.
Virtual whiteboards: Putting a Social Networker in command of this cool visual tool can keep them focused on the meeting. If you allow each person to add one main idea to the whiteboard using their own device, you won’t have to rely as much on the Underachieving Scribe.
Polling: Anonymously polling everyone in the room about an idea can quickly shut down the criticisms of The Negator or show W.T. Ephraim or The Dominator just how great their idea really is (or isn’t). Allowing the Rambler to submit their idea or question virtually instead of verbally can also keep them from monopolizing things.
Presence: Presence technology can show whether Get Here When You Can Guy is actually using email, sending an instant message or otherwise engaged on their mobile, desk phone or home phone. That makes it harder for him to use any of the above as an excuse for attending the meeting late.
Sharing: Allowing everyone to view and share the same screen, video or other content on their own device can take all that fumbling out of the Visual Presentation. Plus, it might give the Social Networker enough compelling stuff on their own screen to keep them on topic, and off Facebook.
Recording: Making a searchable recording of the entire meeting can help produce more accurate minutes – or eliminate the need for them completely. Tired of Get Here When You Can Guy asking you to recap what he missed from the start of every meeting? Just point him towards the recording.
These applications can be used as standalone apps but are also featured within many videoconferencing, webconferencing, teleconferencing and unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) solutions.
In case you’re still wondering, I left TV and the rut smoothed itself out. But I’m still a Get Here When You Can Gal with occasional Social Networker tendencies.
Image courtesy of emily9 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net