Beyond one’s role or title, everyone brings their personality traits with them to a meeting. Some are a pleasure to work with. They generate ideas. They devise solutions. They weigh options. And some, alas, come across as dastardly characters who can ruin a meeting by digressing, arguing or hogging the microphone.
As an effective facilitator, you need to know how to spot these five characters before they take over your meeting or group session, and how to manage the dysfunction and ensure participation from everyone.
- Monopolizer – He loves hearing his own voice and she can’t wait to share her insights and ideas. However good their ideas, they monopolize the meeting, prevent others from participating and hinder the meeting’s effectiveness.
- Naysayer – This person often believes their critique is the honest voice of reason, not cynicism. The naysayer will discard an idea before hearing pros and cons and may obstinately refuse to offer a better idea.
- Digresser – Whether it’s non-linear thinking or a simple lack of concentration, this person perpetually follows a random thought or stray idea and wants to string the group along. As facilitator, staying focused and in charge is key.
- Hesitator – Something prevents this person from making a decision. Maybe she doesn’t want to take sides. Maybe he’s afraid of being wrong. Maybe they are waiting for the perfect solution. Their hesitation to take action is a detriment to the group.
- Terminator – “Let’s do it.” “Let’s not do it.” This person wants action and wants it now. The opposite of the Hesitator, this person makes a decision without weighing the pros and cons, hearing other perspectives or calculating risks.
Devising strategies so you know how to deal with these characters in your meeting is a critical role of the facilitator. Don’t be caught off guard. Plan now so your meeting doesn’t stray when dysfunction strikes.
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