Manage your 7 dwarfs more effectively with Working Smart in Meetings

Manage your 7 dwarfs more effectively with Working Smart in Meetings.

We have them daily, they often run overtime, they go off track and they have the potential to drain millions of dollars from company profits – Meetings – often referred to as the “Silent Killer”.

Last month we shared with you Dr Sharon Livingston’s article on “The 7 dwarfs of meetings” and asked you to identify the different personality types in your meetings. Due to an overwhelming response to this article we decided to elaborate on this and share with you some information from our meetings program and how you can deal with all these different personalities more effectively.

Understanding people’s personalities is critical in many aspects of meetings, not only from a dynamics perspective, but also in terms of who to invite and where to sit certain people for better outcomes.

Have you ever tried putting a ‘bashful’ attendee on the spot with a question? You probably didn’t get their eye contact to start with or saw a sea of red in their cheeks as these people are generally quiet and do not like to be focused on. Even though they keep a low profile and are generally quiet they are still taking everything in. Therefore you need to deal with these people a little differently to more dominant ‘Doc’ types who think they know it all and are often extroverts craving the lime light.

In our program ‘Working Smart in Meeting’ we go through and build a toolbox of techniques to help you manage these people as well as many other personalities to get the best results for your meetings.
For example, a simple seating technique may help you manage your more dominant types – next time try seating them next to the Chairperson– that way they already feel a level of importance and you may find they will be less distracting and not having to pry for the lime light as much. It is also easier for you to manage them and throw to them where necessary.

Once you have worked out the different personality types (or what dwarfs you have in the room), you then need to ensure you have the necessary roles allocated to the appropriate people. Have you allocated your Chairperson, Timekeeper, Minute Taker and finally your Process Check person? Some of you may not be familiar with the last one, but this person plays an integral role in supporting the Chair and keeping the meeting on track.

Working Smart in meetings is a highly customised program created with your individual needs in mind which are extracted through a consultation with the program facilitator. This program is a powerful hands-on session designed to give participants a practical process to get better results and higher satisfaction from meetings.

It combines information from the latest meetings research with ample opportunity for participant discussion and sharing of ideas. Structured activities and examples give participants a chance to practice new behaviours as they learn.

There are four phases involved in planning and running a successful meeting. Whether you are planning the meeting or attending the meeting, the purpose usually is to decide something, plan something, agree on something, gather views on something, or to inform others about something. The possibilities of achieving one or any combination of these purposes is significantly increased with the use of the 4 phase meeting process which the program takes you through.

So next time you get invited to a meeting, you may want to ask a few questions before you accept:
o What is the purpose of the meeting?
o What is my contribution?
o What might I do to prepare?
o What results do you see me relating to?
o When will it start and when will it end?

This is by no means a comprehensive list of questions, but it may get the organiser thinking of a few things if they haven’t done so already.

Remember, your time is valuable and the first person who needs to start respecting that is ‘You’ and hopefully others will follow. You don’t want to be in a meeting sitting next to Sleepy or Grumpy, thinking how can we be doing this better.