20 Meeting Personalities

This list was put together from experiences with experiences with conference calls in 2011. It’s interesting to see, depending on my role on a team or in an organization, how many of the “personalities” below I’ve adopted. It’s also interesting to see how the “all remote” meetings post-pandemic have made some of “personalities” or commentary obsolete.

  • Off-mute chewer – Chews on (lunch?) audibly into the microphone.
  • Absent-minded mute button user – Starts responding with the mute button on for about a minute or more before realizing that no one is hearing the response.
  • Mute button blamer – Wasn’t paying attention. 
    Had to have name called several times.
    Blames mute button for not having a clue what’s going on.
    See also: How the Mute Button on Your Phone Actually Works
  • Clock Watcher – Spends more time checking watch that actually participating in meeting.
  • Filibusterer – Single handedly talks the meeting into oblivion. (Not to be confused with the derailer or rambler.)
  • Derailer – Somehow manages to bring up tangential topics that get everyone completely off topic for the next 15 minutes.
  • Rambler – Responds to any question with a barely intelligible introspection on the topic.
    Responds to follow-up questions for clarification grow at an exponential rate.
  • Hedger – Treats every remote possibility as likely and stays non-committal unless you accept the exceptions noted.
  • Side Conversation Starter – Either completely oblivious or too rude to care that another meeting is going on.
  • Overhead speaker – Not an actual attendee or person, but an object which causes an echo in speakerphones and disrupts the meeting until it becomes silent again.
  • Tattle-tale – At the first of not getting his or her way, threatens to go tell a more powerful person to whom the tattler is connected.
  • Foot-propper – The meeting is a lounge to this person:  Feet are propped up on the table and behaves generally too relaxed to actually be engaged in the meeting.
  • Multitasker – Furiously typing on the keyboard, but obviously not to take notes on the meeting. (Don’t bother asking this person questions unless you want to rehash the entire meeting.)
  • Referee – “Sees the merits of both sides” of an intense debate.
    Tries to make everybody play nice, regardless of their agendas.
  • Idea killer – Always has a negative scenario for any proposal.
    Never has an idea himself.
  • Yes man – Would say no pants Friday at the office was a good idea, provided the right person proposed it.
  • Interrupter – Jumps in mid-details and often freaks out about half the story or asks questions whose answers were already on their way.
  • Belittler – Often pulls rank or “experience” to shut other people off.
  • Saboteur – Is either annoyed at the assignment or annoyed at not getting the project lead, but plays nice during the meeting, silently plotting the slow death of the project. (Can also accomplish goals as an inciter.)
  • Inciter – May jump communication chains to create the illusion of one person hiding information from another.

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