Dreading that Meeting? How to Make Your Meetings Suck Less, Volume 2

Business people shaking hands, finishing up a meeting

Our previous post left you imagining that you were meeting with Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Mr. Rogers, and Bill Gates … trying to come to consensus on an issue or problem. Did you get anywhere since we left you?

Were you able to determine if you prefer to operate as a high D, I, S, or C? We all exhibit our preferred communication style and this dynamic can be incredibly frustrating when you have a team of mixed styles trying to tackle a common goal. 

On the flip side, it can be just as frustrating to not have a balance of each style on a team. Here’s an example:

Four partners in a business were constantly complaining that they could not get anything done and were at the point where they were thinking of closing the business. It was a curious situation since the business was doing well financially.

All four partners took a DISC assessment. It showed that none of them had a high score in Decisive. There was no Donald Trump at the table … no one to take the reins and get decisions made. Three of them were high in I like Bill Clinton, happy-go-lucky, go-with-the-flow kind of folks, and one was high in S like everybody’s friend, Mr. Rogers. So based on that, what do you think communication and behavior looked like in their organization?

You are correct. They got to the point where they were thinking about closing a successful business because none of them were strong in the area of decision-making and problem solving. Issues would come to light, they’d have a nice, friendly, stable discussion, but nothing would ever come of it. No action would be taken. 

Having behavioral diversity on a team is important. However, having knowledge about others’ preferred behavior and communication styles allows you to build the best combination of diversity to achieve the greatest outcomes.

How can you ensure your meetings are worthwhile and won’t frustrate attendees to no end? If you really want to get things done and make your meetings suck less for everyone, try these tips:

1. Have a conversation about DISC. Start your meeting with a simple awareness exercise having each participant decide if they are more like Mr.’s Trump, Clinton, Rogers, or Gates. 

2. Set ground rules. Knowing you have a Mr. Trump (or two or three) at the table, set meeting ground rules designed to derail participants when they try to jump on the Trump Train by dominating the conversation. “Each participant shares their argument for a maximum of 5 minutes,” for example. On the flip side, use the same technique to encourage the high S Mr. Rogers types to share by including, “Each participant is required to contribute for a minimum of 5 minutes.”

3. Keep the DISC front and center. Post a graphic reminder of the DISC in your meeting room so all of the participants can have a visual reminder of their own style while keeping in mind their style may not always be appropriate for the rest of the folks in the room.

4. Set clear objectives. If you are running the meeting, determining the outcomes you expect from the meeting can keep everyone on track. Taking the time to write an agenda will help you and your team stay focused and on task. If you are not running the meeting, offer to draw up an agenda to help out the person who is in charge. They might be lower on the S and C scale and not see the value in a concise agenda. 

5. Take notes. Meetings without minutes being noted and shared with all participants are often just empty exercises and could be perceived as a colossal waste of time, particularly by the high S and C participants. If the meeting organizer doesn’t ensure minutes are taken and distributed, offer to do it upon his or her approval. 

These 5 simple tips can help you turn your meetings into worthwhile time invested rather than time-sucking exercises in frustration.

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