Meetings and Behavior


Understanding behavior is a key factor for successful meetings.

Work Meetings are a regular part of most companies. However, the quality of these meetings can vary substantially. We’ve been to meetings that have gone smoothly, on time, and productive. And yes, we’ve also been to meetings that were nearing on disaster. They might be disorganized, with no agenda, starting late and running over the allotted time or it may seem as though the conversation is going in circles. Does this sound familiar? What are the key factors that determine if a meeting will go well? How can we prepare ourselves to have a productive meeting that ends with results?

Consideration and understanding of the behavior of those attending the meeting can make a significant difference and good to keep in mind during preparations.

Let’s take a look at some common behaviors and the presence they bring to meetings:

Need for Control:

  • Prefers to control the meeting, get to the bottom line, and take a direct approach to a problem.
  • May not understand why other people in the meeting are “not getting it.” This can be a challenge for others in the group who require more explanation

Prefer to Support:

  • Likes to collaborate and supports team decisions.
  • May wait for others to take lead. If they need to run the meeting, it is best to let them know in advance so they have time to prepare.

Need for People:

  • Shares a lot of ideas and likes to brainstorm with the team.
  • Can be easily distracted if there are a lot of details involved, and tend to have sidebar conversations. This is tendency is increased if paired with High Energy.

Prefer to be Private:

  • Wants to take time before responding to ensure they have a full understanding of the subject at hand. They are great listeners.
  • Hesitant to speak out in a group setting until they are ready. They may need to be addressed by name to add their input.

Need to Process:

  • Prefers a clear agenda and time frame for the meeting. Likes to have information about the meetings purpose in advance to have time to analyze cause and effect, as well as, to form opinions if expected to contribute to the discussion. They favor friendly discussions and shy away from controversy.
  • Willing to take charge of the meeting, but likes to have permission and time for preparation.

Prefer to do everything NOW:

  • Wants the meeting to go as quickly as possible, and expects fast answers to their questions.
  • Can appear disinterested if the topic does not personally apply to them or their position.

Need for Rules:

  • Expects order and organization as well as a strong leader. They appreciate detailed information and scrutinize new ideas.
  • Contributions are generally related to specific details about the topic and expectations.

Prefer little detail:

  • May not have a set agenda or a defined time frame. They are highly creative and often present ideas that are out of the norm.
  • Have a hard time staying focused if a lot of details are being discussed.

High Energy:

  • Has a tendency to fidget, talk excessively, or doodle during meetings. This may increase dramatically if paired with High Extroversion.
  • Struggles with being present as their mind often jumps to the next thing. They have a hard time sitting still and focusing, especially if the meeting goes longer than anticipated.

Low Energy:

  • Focuses on what they deem to be important, and can be exceptionally good listeners.
  • Often need to take breaks if the meeting is too lengthy

Reading through this list, you probably recognize a few characteristics from your own personality. Understanding our own behavior is key, as it helps us interact with the world around us in a helpful way. Take our free, 5 minute ProScan assessment to gain a better understanding of the types of behavior you most commonly use.

When you have a clear understanding of your co-workers behavior, consider drafting an outline for the meeting that will appeal to the behaviors of the group. If you have several Low Energy participants of the meeting, consider keeping the meeting short and to the point. If you have more High Energy people, they would respond better to a more hands on approach that captures their interest and keeps them engaged.

Paying close attention to the characteristics and behaviors of those around you can improve your relationships and interactions. In a business setting, this can lead to a better management of time, greater success, and more fulfilled co-workers.

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