February, 2007


What is a meeting?

Act of coming together, encountering or joining; assembly, esp for specified purpose; person assembled.
Source The Penguin Concise English Dictionary

Meetings are created for all kinds of purposes, but whatever the purpose meetings can go wrong.

There are a huge number of factors to consider when attending meetings, what I would like to focus on here are the different personality types that may be involved in a meeting and the effects they may have on the meeting.

This information is not meant to give you answers it is designed to get you to think about the impact you or your colleagues may have on a meeting.

I design and deliver courses on such topics for many different types of business to help them overcome possible stumbling blocks.

Let us first begin by having a look at some of the players in a meetings, these are by no means all of the different types of players or exact descriptions, they have been mentioned to help you identify some that you may have come across within your professional or personal life.

The Speaker
The person who always has something to say and may talk endlessly; partly to give information but possibly because they like the sound of their own voice. They have to finish what they are saying and may interrupt others to get their point across.

The Listener
Who will sit and take on board what each person is saying, absorbing information. They may speak if they feel they have something to contribute. Although they are quiet, they are learning, listening, watching and possibly analysing all the time.

The arguer
They often walk into the meeting ready for an argument, ready to disagree with other points of view, they may already have identified who they are going to disagree with. They may not listen with an open ear, instead they may only hear want they want to hear, the information being filtered through their feelings.

The passionate campaigner
Their strong emotions lead their campaign. They want people to understand and take note of what they are saying, they want people to join them listen and feel motivated by them. They have a message and they will try to get it across.

The mediator
This person wants to find a common ground, they do not necessarily take sides, what is more important to them is having peace and calm with everyone getting on. They feel if people can understand each other then they can all find a way forward together.

The Quiet person
They sit there meeting after meeting never saying a word. They have a voice and an opinion but they feel know one would listen, know one would care and so they stay quiet, in the background actually not wanting to be noticed.

The Worrier
Whatever is said, by whoever or in whatever way they are worried about it, how it will affect them, their family or their colleagues. This person does not necessarily hear all that is said. Once again words are filtered through their own fears and anxiety.

The average Joe
They sit and listen, contribute when need to and when they want to, they have passions interests and disinterests, but over all they want to be part of the meeting but also want to get on with it and get out there and do something.

The Stirrer
These people are good at pushing other people’s buttons, at creating conflict. Stirrers differ from arguers – they are not necessarily negative people, but enjoy provoking others. This can be positive if they are raising issues that aren’t being considered, but it is more often done for a negative effect.

The clock watcher
They don’t want to be there; the moment they walk in they are sighing and checking their watch. They may fidget and fiddle wondering when this meeting is going to end and they can get back to their own life and what they want to do.

All of the above are just some of the types of people that appear in meetings you may recognise one or more of them in people you know or even in yourself. You may even notice that some people fit into several categories in different meetings at different times of the day, however whatever you notice or think these people do exist and all have an impact upon a meeting.

When holding a meeting understanding these different types of player can help you begin to communicate more affectively.

At Psych Therapy Practice (PTP) we specialise in communication and how it impacts on people, their stress levels and themselves personally. All this knowledge has been developed through working with and helping individuals and studying communication as a psychologist.

When helping people to develop more proactive meetings we not only have a course that we teach from, but go into companies to understand the nature of that company and how it communicates in meetings and outside of meetings, and how one affects the other. We then teach and stimulate people to develop more effective meetings that save company time, expenditure and motivate and develop people’s passions.

Our aim is to look at the nuances of meetings and communication to help you drive your business forward.

For more information about Psych Therapy Practice and the courses that it runs please visit www.psychtherapy.co.uk/courses