The truth about business meetings

We all have our own style of communicating when attending or chairing business meetings, but which personality type are you?

Do you choose to be:

  •  An observer
  •  A contributor
  •  A leader

Or maybe you’re not a type at all and find yourself doodling on your writing pad, appearing uninterested…

Whichever type you are, it’s important to understand the effect you may have on other attendees.

Take the observer in the first instance; this person is a good listener AND a good watcher. What do I mean by watcher?  When an observer watches what takes place in a business meeting, they usually pick up on body language first. (crossed arms, wandering eyes, fidgeting.. you get the idea).  An observer is generally someone who is new to the group or has been invited to learn about a particular subject or event.  Listening is also a vital skill, which may help with analysing the meeting after it finishes.  I enjoy being an observer!

Contributor’s on the other hand are also very important, but there’s a fine line between communicating and sharing ideas that you’re passionate about and taking over the meeting. If you are  a major contributor, you’ll need to have an equal balance of sharing ideas and observing. This is key, as you could potentially “tread” on the leader’s territory. There can only be one leader within a business meeting… otherwise it will turn into a “free-for-all”.  It has taken me many years to learn the balance and I’m always very aware of how much time I take away from the leader and more specifically, what I’m actually contributing.

If you’re a leader, kudos to you! Good leaders are some of the most charismatic people out there and have a knack of keeping the meeting under control, interesting and focused. It’s important to engage your audience and follow an agenda because this way, everyone feel’s like they’ve contributed.  As a leader, asking other attendees to contribute their thoughts and ideas before hand, helps to keep the meeting organised and it also allows participants to feel included. (If they arrive and feel that their opinion DOES actually count, you’re more than likely to get their full attention.

Poor leader’s can be those who are only interested in their own opinion and the reason why they called the meeting. To the attendees, they feel like they’re in school detention as opposed to a productive business meeting. This is where the “doodler’s” come in…. why should they care about what’s being said if the leader has not asked for any contributions.  So they find themselves playing hang-man or something of that nature.

The effect that each type has on one another is obvious… observer’s listen and watch to ensure the leader’s and contributor’s feel relevant and important, the contributor’s help the leader’s and observer’s reflect on ideas shared or questions asked and the leader relies on both the observer’s and contributor’s to provide feedback and tackle the topics discussed.

Which type are you?

All the best,


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