Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

The Top Ten Meeting Personalities

At Premiere Global Services, we conduct A LOT of meetings each day. 82,000 to be exact. Whether online, over the phone, or in person, keeping people engaged and productive during a meeting is always the goal. To that end, we've drafted a top 10 list of meeting "unique" personalities and tips for improving your interactions during meetings.

  1. The Multitasker: All of us are guilty of multitasking during a meeting. Some of us are better at it than others. When asked a question, the Multitasker frequently responds with, "Sorry, I missed that. Could you repeat that?" The Multitasker can be harder to engage online or over the phone than in person. It's important to keep this personality engaged and call on them often. Keeping them on their toes may decrease the amount of time they spend multitasking.
  2. The Mobile Meeter: The Mobile Meeter thinks nothing of conducting or attending meetings in the airport lounge or in the carpool line. Two keys to a successful Mobile Meeter: 1) having conference details handy in an Outlook Calendar so they can quick-dial into a meeting and 2) having a clear understanding of how to self-mute background noise. Beware of the overzealous Mobile Meeter who does not mute in the bathroom. Ick! Germs!
  3. The Disrupter: Changing the topic or taking people down a side street, the Disrupter can sometimes uncover new thinking or creative ideas. But the Disrupter can also blow up an agenda and make other meeting participants irritable and cranky. You'll know the Disrupter as they often end a sentence with " ... but I digress."
  4. The Overbooked: Doesn't know how to say no to a meeting invite so they attend them all. And are late to them all! The Overbooked generally greets team gatherings with "Sorry, I had a meeting that ran late ... "
  5. The Interrupter: When a good idea comes to mind, the Interrupter can't wait to present it to the group. And does ... right at that moment! This personality is not inherently bad because hey, it is a GOOD idea. But have caution: combining the Interrupter with distant relatives the Disrupter(#3) and the Long-Winded can create meeting anarchy.
  6. The Socializer: Always prompt, always interested in where you live, how many children you have and what the weather is like in your town. This individual is a great asset most of the time, because the Socializer establishes rapport among participants and is willing to connect and collaborate. But beware: you may have to politely decline an invitation to view pics from the Socializer's Halloween party.
  7. The Maestro: Consummate professional, never starts a meeting without establishing a clear agenda and proper perspective. At the end of a meeting clearly recaps the discussion, outlines next steps and identifies action items. Even when the Maestro isn't running a meeting, their organizational command shines through. The Maestro's smooth skills can often help manage the Disrupter (see #3).
  8. The Timekeeper: No matter what is happening in a meeting, the Timekeeper is aware that someone "has a hard stop" and tries to motivate the team to complete the meeting at the predicted close. The Timekeeper doesn't always blend well with habitual late-comers like the Overbooked.
  9. The Snacker: Can you hear the Snacker crunching over the phone? Kudos to the person who will work through lunch, but mind your table manners, please! And for those noisy phone eaters, learning about mute features is a requirement.
  10. The Social Networker: (not to be confused with the Socializer, #6 above)—The days of meeting notes are changing. Many professionals are Tweeting or Facebooking live from a meeting. Note to self: bad form to tell your social network that a meeting sucks, especially if you have befriended the meeting host!

Jacqueline Yeaney is the Chief Marketing Officer of Premiere Global Services and is responsible for all aspects of the company's worldwide marketing, branding and communication efforts. Prior to joining Premiere Global, Ms. Yeaney served as chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales at EarthLink, where she led brand positioning and message development across all business lines. With previous roles as chief marketing officer of HomeBanc Mortgage and managing director for Consumer Marketing at Delta Air Lines, Ms. Yeaney promotes customer advocacy and establishing a consistent brand experience worldwide.