However, it can be hard to determine how to handle situations and personalities in a meeting. If you’re scratching your head wondering how to get through to your conference attendees, the most common types of meeting participants follow. In addition, you will learn how best to handle them.
The Negative Nancy
An idea comes out which is wonderful. Someone suggests a new technology. A shortcut in an often-used program is discovered. A new patch or upgrade could minimize downtime by 20%.It doesn’t matter to the Negative Nancy, because when he or she hears it, it will be shot down before the words finish coming out. These types of participants may claim they have the company’s best interests in mind, but often they’re just jealous or too lazy about an idea to embrace new things. Critical thinking is important. That being said, it can be tiring for co-workers to hear only cons to anything they have to suggest.
One method to handle this behavior is to install a policy that requires everybody to give a few pieces of positive feedback on any idea before any negative critique is allowed. This gentle reminder could keep people on the same page. When criticism does come out, ask for a list of reasons for why the idea is bad. When this doesn’t work, try setting your meetings to last only 30 minutes with no exceptions, because according to Entrepreneur, employees will resist arguing if they know they’re on a tight deadline.
The Time Traveler
Regardless of how early you send the meeting invite, this person almost always ends up being late to the discussion. Sometimes, they’re even late by an hour or more, all without a shred of guilt on their faces. You’ll inevitably wind up having to retrace your steps and repeat information that’s already been shared just for this person who couldn’t make it in time. Now imagine having to deal with one person after the other coming in late… you can’t keep repeating information forever. Your meeting will wind up lasting for hours! Not to mention, if you had to bring employees to the meeting in the first place, it’s not just your time that is being wasted. Other individuals are now giving up their time as a concept, idea, or problem is explained a second time to the participant who didn’t show up on time.
Remind your attendees that you are not going to repeat any information for their sake if they are late. For those who are notorious truants, you may want to tell them that they forfeit their rights to argue against any decision you’ve made during the meeting. For those who just don’t get the hint, if you’re holding a corporate all-hands meeting using BlueJeans, you can simply lock them out of the conference room if they don’t make it in time. Or, if you do implement video conferencing methods, at least your employees won’t have as much of an excuse to be late. Simply by clicking a few buttons they can be into the meeting and won’t have the excuses of traffic, slow elevators, or not being able to find parking at their disposal.
The ones who are intently listening but who almost never pipe up during the discussion can be hard to deal with. It’s almost as if you should have never invited them at all since they have nothing to say. While this may be excusable in only a handful of meetings, making a habit of it means that their attendance is a huge waste of time. Most of the time, they’re incredibly shy or even lack confidence, according to Mind Tools. They may hate feeling like they’ve said something ridiculous, so they’d rather not speak at all.
Ask them to pitch in each time you notice that they haven’t said a word during your conferences. You can use a lead-in question such as “What do you think?” or “Given this idea, how do you think we can further improve it?” By asking them their thoughts, you can quickly improve both morale and productivity with an employee who feels like they are actually appreciated and need to contribute.
In order to be productive with your daily work time, you just need to implement a few strategies to get others working for you instead of next to you. Put your foot down and start practicing these tips, and you’ll notice an improvement regarding your participants’ behavior. It doesn’t have to be eye opening to be effective, and your office job will get that much easier.