Dysfunctional Meeting Characters

Participants Bring Both Their Good and Bad Sides to Meetings

good and badEver meet any of these dysfunctional characters below in your meetings? And if so, are you equipped with facilitative strategies to pro-actively prevent or intervene in the moment, so the meeting is not disrupted?

Monopolizer. This character dominates the conversation with their wisdom, ideas, beliefs to the detriment of fuller participation. As facilitator, your task is to broaden the circle of contribution to others. In the moment: Intervene by inviting a go-round to hear from everyone. Pro-actively: Design the meeting process to start with individual reflection, pairs/trios sharing, then large group popcorning from small groups, so all contribute.

Naysayer. The perennial cynic is ready to slay any idea at a moment’s notice with a negative phrase, “we tried it once and it didn’t work”. In the moment: As facilitator, invite a ‘devil’s advocate’ exploration of why it might work. Pro-actively: Design a pros/cons or force field analysis to ensure both sides of the issue are thoughtfully considered.

Electronic Intruder. Smart phones, laptops, and tablets distract proceedings. It has now been well documented that singular focus is fundamental to productivity and multi-tasking detrimental to that end. Pro-actively: Have the group set clear norms on use of electronic gadgets and PDA’s. In the moment: Make sure the norms are enforced.

The list of disruptive characters goes on… Overbearing Authority; Reluctant Member; Unquestioned Acceptance; Rush to Finish; Motive Attributor; Idea Discounter; Tangent Digresser; Feuding Members.

The good news is that pro-active meeting design ‘before the meeting’ can go a long way to prevent meeting disruptions.   

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Author: myriamlaberge

M.A. (Economics), Certified Professional Facilitator Founder & Managing Director