Dreading that Meeting? How to Make Your Meetings Suck Less.

group of people sitting indoors

How excited do you get for meetings? Do you feel a sense of excitement because you’re anticipating sharing all of your extensive knowledge on the topic at hand?

Or are you excited because you’re looking forward to the hearty discussion and group interaction? 

Or maybe you feel like you’re walking a tight rope where meeting goers are just waiting for you to step on their toes?

Or are you dreading having to show up because it will be the same talking heads sharing the same old war stories you’ve heard millions and millions of times before?

Whether you’re attending a weekly team meeting at work, a nonprofit board meeting after hours, or having a powwow with your family trying to plan an annual vacation, meetings are inevitable in life. How you approach them can be the difference between an hour (or two or three) wasted and time truly invested in a purposeful outcome.

The key ingredient to a successful meeting is open, honest, and direct communication. 

Effective communication is defined as ‘the listener received the exact message the sender intended to send.’ However that message is affected by a number of things. Individual personalities, experiences, and your current mood are all factors in how you will send and receive information.

We refer to these as filters. To communicate successfully, it is important to decipher the listener’s filters. Without knowing all of the attendees closely you will rarely understand their previous experiences. But you can pick up on listeners’ moods by looking at body language and facial expressions as well as listening to tone of voice.

Each person has a unique behavior and communication style and it plays a very basic role in his or her perspective. Every personality is a unique combination of four basic behavior and communication types. These types are commonly determined and measured through a science created in the early 1920’s by William Marston. His science is used in an assessment still used today called the DISC profile.

The DISC profile provides a comprehensive overview of the way people behave and communicate.

First, let’s talk about D. A person who scores high on the D scale is more apt to be decisive, outspoken, a results-oriented leader, and a fairly quick problem solver. Higher D traits can be likened to someone like Donald Trump.

An individual who has a higher I score is going to be friendly, outgoing, talkative, optimistic, the life of the party, and people oriented. Bill Clinton fits this mold. 

An individual who has a higher S score is stabilizing and will be a team player. They’ll be stable, consistent, maintain the status quo, be a peacemaker, are typically family oriented, and very patient. Imagine Fred Rogers. That’s Mr. Rogers to you and me. 

A person with a higher score in C identifies someone more logical, organized, data driven, methodical, focused on perfectionism, and detail oriented. Bill Gates comes to mind as an example. 

Now imagine your meeting again, but this time you’re sitting down with Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Mr. Rogers, and Bill Gates … trying to come to consensus on an issue or problem. Looks to be an interesting meeting, doesn’t it?

Think about the participants at your next meeting. Take a few minutes and observe their behavior, body language, tone of voice, and their need to dominate or possibly avoid the conversation. Can you pick out the high D, I, S, and C at the table? Which one are you? 

Why does this matter? We’ll explore that in our next post.

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