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Which is your chosen work personality?

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Find out how the demands of your chosen career have a major impact on shaping how you behave in a meeting. By Kathryn Ellis

With work taking over the majority of our waking hours, it is not surprising that the unique demands of a career can play a major role in shaping one’s behaviour in the workplace. These tendencies tend to be more obvious at meetings and other professional interactions as these sessions are such a crucial part of getting things done. Here are the top six distinctive personalities found in a meeting and the types of professions they are likely to match:

1.       If you are a project manager, an event planner, an advertising executive or a public relations consultant, you’re most likely… The Multitasker.

You are not only a whiz at juggling multiple clients, vendors and projects simultaneously, but also one who thrives on the adrenaline rush of racing from deadline to deadline. Hands up, all those guilty of scribbling notes during a conference call while responding to emails on your Blackberry.

While you may be blessed with the gift of being a consummate Multitasker, do exercise caution.  A major requirement in your line of work is the ability to listen to clients and draw out important information. To keep your multitasking tendency in check, make it a point to keep your computer and mobile phone out of sight and pay attention instead.

2.         If you are a businessman, investment banker, stock broker or property agent, you’re most likely… The Mobile Meeter.

As your job requires you to be constantly on the move to find the next business lead, you probably spend your work day travelling from customer meeting to sales presentation to industry seminar. As a professional who is always on the go, you are likely to be familiar with dialing in to conference calls and web meetings from a hotel room, a roadside café, a taxi or an airport lounge.

As a Mobile Meeter, it is critical that you always have on hand an up-to-date calendar of meetings with indication of time zones. Every considerate Mobile Meeter should also invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to ensure the background noise in any location will not get in the way of a productive meeting.

3.         If you’re an artist, an inventor, an advertising creative or a talk show host, you’re most likely… The Disrupter

Your job is often an unstructured one which requires you to explore the full potential of your imagination and truly think out of the box. Does the mention of one thing tend to ignite 10 related ideas in your head? Do you find it impossible to hold back on sharing those ideas? If so, say hello to the Disrupter, for that is what you tend to become in a meeting.

While your ingenuity is a valuable trait, do make sure you are not derailing a meeting from its intended objectives. Wait until the most appropriate section in a meeting to share your thoughts. That way, you will not only be recognised as a creative genius but also an effective and considerate team player.

4.         If you’re an analyst, auctioneer, doctor, strategist or CEO, you’re most likely to be… The Maestro.

The unique demands of your career mean that you have the killer combination of a commanding presence, a razor-sharp mind and a results-focused approach. Your natural ability to look beyond complexity to get to the root of a problem means that you are probably The Maestro of meetings.

You are able to lead meetings towards concrete outcomes effortlessly, and inspire confidence and respect from others. However, despite the Maestro’s effectiveness at meetings, you have the tendency to get frustrated with personalities like The Disrupter or the Socialiser. Take care not to dampen their creativity by creating an appropriate time for them to speak and by considering their views seriously.

5.         If you’re an ambassador, a financial consultant, an insurance advisor or journalist, you’re most likely to be… The Socialiser

To reach the very top in your chosen career path, one needs to possess a charismatic personality, a vast network of contacts and the ability to draw critical information from these contacts.  Not only are you a master at networking, but you’re also capable of building trust with others very quickly. This is critical for getting that bit of political insight, signing another customer or achieving that exclusive headline.

Your likeability and skill at building rapport are likely to influence the way you behave during meetings too, making you The Socialiser. Even before the meeting begins, you are greeting each participant and chatting away with some of them like old friends. Your ability to put participants at ease, especially in a high-pressure environment, is highly valued.  While you usually create a positive impression, do exercise self-awareness so as to remain professional and avoid encroaching on personal boundaries.

6.         If you’re a digital strategist, technology analyst and communications professional, you’re likely to be… The Social Networker.

Find yourself itching to check Facebook during a meeting? Find yourself unconsciously tweeting about what an ugly tie the colleague sitting opposite you in the meeting is wearing? You’re probably the Social Networker.

As a social media pioneer whose work description includes Facebook-ing, Tweeting, blogging and Foursquar-ing so you can counsel clients about these platforms, you are probably connected 24/7.  You are also likely to feel the constant urge to update your networks about what you are doing, eating and seeing at all times of the day… even during meetings.

Take care not to get carried away, as not everything should be posted on a social network, especially if it concerns corporate matters. Don’t let your passion for the job land you in hot soup.

Kathryn Ellis is the communications manager for PGi in Asia Pacific. She is part of the team that drives PGi’s communications strategies throughout the region. More articles on engaging staff during meetings can be found here.

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Written by Lee Xieli

June 9, 2011 at 9:00 am

The top 10 personalities found in meetings

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Which personality do you resemble most during meetings?

By Joanne Rigby

Have you ever felt the frustration of people joining your meeting late and interrupting your presentation? What about getting distracted by the tapping of a keyboard from someone multitasking on a conference call?

Whether online, over the phone or face-to-face, keeping people engaged and productive during a meeting is not an easy task. Even the best planned meetings can be a total loss if the attendees are not given an agenda or know the objective of the meeting prior and during the meeting.

Here are some tips to help you mange the top 10 “unique” personalities we often encounter in meetings.

1. The Multitasker: Admit it, all of us are guilty of multitasking during a meeting. Explaining ground rules and expectations at the beginning of a meeting is a great way to ensure you are setting the right tone for the meeting.

All mobile phones should be switched off when seated at the conference table. Not only is this going to help with keeping everyone focused with the task at hand, but mobile signals cause interference with many speaker phones
commonly used in corporate conference rooms.

Involve the Multitasker in your presentation. This works great when you are having a virtual meeting. Ask the Multitasker to share their desktop so they can demo an application or other relevant materials, which keeps them out of their inbox, chat, or browsing the web.

2. The Mobile Meeter: This personality thinks nothing of conducting or attending meetings in the airport lounge or in a restaurant. What’s worse, some of them take their conference calls from the restroom and forget to mute! The Mobile Meeter needs to have conference details handy in an Outlook Calendar so they can quick-dial into a meeting and have a clear understanding of how to self-mute background noise.

For Mobile Meeters out there, invest in a noise-canceling headset so background noise doesn’t get in the way of your message. This headset will make it seem that you are in a closed-door conference room when actually, you are taking the call while driving with the windows down.

Remind your attendees at the beginning of every meeting to mute their line, and ask that they do when they are not speaking. If you find this doesn’t fix the situation, you can always mute-all as the meeting owner and ask participants to “un-mute” themselves as needed.

3. The Disrupter: Changing the topic, the Disrupter can blow up an agenda and make other meeting participants irritable and cranky. You will know the Disrupter as they often end a sentence with “that said, let me digress to another topic”. So what’s the trick?

Let the Disrupter know about a specific part of the conference that they know something about. Then you can ask them for the opinion, input, thoughts and ideas. No matter how many times the Disrupter interferes, always acknowledge their contribution – and most importantly, the opportunity for questions at a LATER stage.

4. The Overbooked: Doesn’t know how to say no to a meeting invite so they attend them all. And the best part is, they are always late! The Overbooked generally greets team gatherings with “Sorry, I had a meeting that ran late … “.

The fact that the Overbooked soul still makes time to attend your meeting even if they have 10 others to attend to, means that they are willing to participate and share their thoughts – so do acknowledge that!

If you know that in the next 15 minutes, your Overbooked attendee needs to rush off, offer to be a Timekeeper and inform the rest of the group accordingly.

5. The Interrupter: When a good idea comes to mind, the Interrupter can’t wait to present and share it with the group. And does it … right at that moment!

Don’t be afraid to create ground rules to control contributions from your attendees. Simply saying ‘no interruptions while others are giving their update’ will suffice. If the Interrupter forgets the rule and steps in anyway, you can say “Hold that thought for a moment, let’s hear the rest of what Linda has to say”.

6. The Socialiser: Outgoing and charismatic, the Socialiser is a skillful and enthusiastic communicator. They are always prompt, always interested in where you live, how many children you have and what you had for lunch. Maintaining personal boundaries is a problem for Socialiser though – so what do you do?

When the conversation goes off on a tangent, let the Socialiser know that it can be taken offline, at a different time.

7. The Maestro: A complete professional, never starts a meeting without establishing a clear agenda. At the end of a meeting clearly recaps the discussion, outlines next steps and identifies action items. Even when the Maestro isn’t running a meeting, their organisational command shines through.

The Maestro’s smooth skills in communicating and dealing with questions can often help manage other personalities like the Disrupter, Interrupter or even, the Socialiser, so offer the Maestro to be the chairperson.

8. The Timekeeper: Is not afraid to say “We’ve used up half of our meeting time and have only covered one item. Can we move on and cover the other nine?”

No matter what is happening in a meeting, the Timekeeper is aware that the meeting has a time limit and tries to motivate the team to complete the meeting at the predicted close. If you know that one of your meeting attendees has the Timekeeper personality traits, allow them to take on the responsibility of keeping track of the agenda and let the group know how much time remains for discussion.

9. The Snacker: People eat all the time during web or conference calls. For those who really need to eat, learning about mute features is a requirement. As the host, encourage your attendees to mute their line when they are not speaking or presenting.

10. The Social Networker: In this day and age, many professionals are Facebooking and Tweeting live from a meeting. If you know that one of your attendees is updating her status when other members of the team are sharing their thoughts, you may want to pass the presenter control to the Social Networker and encourage them to voice their thoughts and ideas instead.

This article by Joanne Rigby, Asia Pacific Marketing Director at PGi, concludes The Art of Great Meetings byline series. The first part of the series “Get them hooked during meetings” can be found here.

Written by Human Resources

July 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Get them hooked during meetings

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Get them hooked during meetings

By Joanne Rigby

All of us have been on a web or phone conference where the host asks “are there any questions” and the sound of a clock ticking is all you can hear after that. What about getting a response like “could you repeat that question please, I was on mute”? Frustrating, isn’t it?

Sensing the tone and voice reactions of your audience in a virtual environment doesn’t always come as easily as face-to-face meetings. Often, the important message that you are trying to get across is missed in the process.

So how can you close the gap? Here are some simple guidelines you can use to gauge your audience’s level of interest and how to keep them engaged.

It’s all about learning the basics

A famous study by Albert Mehrabian concluded that human beings communicate as much as 38% of our message through our voice (tone, pitch, and so on), with as little as 7% through the words we actually say.

When it comes to meetings, always be on the lookout for “what” the other party is saying and most importantly, ‘how’ they say it. If you’re in a web meeting, it’s good to encourage your guests to use their web cams because it will give you more of an insight by looking for cues in their eyes and overall body language. Most importantly, learn to interpret messages from the tone of their voice.

Ways to read your audience and keep them engaged

1.         Listen to their speed and tone – Like body language or facial expressions, tone and speed can tell you a lot about your audiences’ level of engagement. For example, if they reply in:

o          Monotonous and curt says, “Can we please move on and get this done? I’ve got better things to do”.

o          Slow speed and low pitch communicates, “I’m not in the right frame of mind for this meeting and want to be left alone.”

o          An abrupt speed and loud tone say, “I’m frustrated and not open to input!”

o          Muffled with drawn-out speed indicates “Pardon me, I’ve not woken up yet”.

When any of the above happens, try to spice things up with your audience by doing:

o          Ask if there is anything else they would like to discuss apart from what’s on the agenda

o          Give them a task to do and get them to share it with the rest of the attendees once the time is up

o          Regularly ask each attendee for their agreement or feedback verbally

o          Throw a little bit of humour to lighten up the mood

o          Run polls through the web conferencing interface. Make these fun or informative and use them often.

2.         Listen to their voice inflections: Stressing different words in the same sentences gives you clues to your audiences’ moods. For instance, stressing the words “would you” in this sentence makes it sound defensive: “What would you like us to do about it!” But if they stress the words “like us”, it hints that they are curious and want to find out more.

3.         If they’re not talking, get them talking: If you are experiencing the uncomfortable silence during a web meeting, you may want to ditch the PowerPoint and use a digital whiteboard as a substitute. If this happens during a conference call, you may want to pass presenter control to your audience and encourage them to voice their thoughts and ideas instead.

Also, always have back-up activities – such as polling and voting – that require your audience’s participation to illustrate a point. When you create an open, collaborative environment, you’ll be surprised who comes out of their shell.

4.         Identify multi-taskers: We all do it, and we can agree it makes for less productive meetings. Who’s muted and but is actually on the other line with her friends? Who’s in a remote office and not in the conference room with others?

When you know that you have multi-taskers in the group, try to encourage them to own a piece of the meeting like taking the minutes or even moderating the flow of the discussion. During a web meeting, you can also get the multi-taskers to share their desktops so they can demonstrate an application or walk the audience through a presentation. These tricks will definitely work in keeping them away from their inbox, chat, or browsing the web.

At the end of the day, if you are the one running the meeting, always remember to be fun, entertaining and most importantly, yourself. Start the meeting by telling a story or delivering a creative opening to set the right mood and tone. Original examples, especially from your own recent experience, always work well to relate and identify with your attendees. Engaging your attendees with an occasional relevant joke also helps them to loosen up and raise the level of expectancy and anticipation. When you know that your audience is excited, you will feel confident and they will settle in more easily.

With that in mind, good luck!

Joanne Rigby is the Asia Pacific Marketing Director at PGi. She is responsible for driving PGi’s marketing strategies across its full communications offering throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Keep a look out for PGi’s The Art of Great Meetings Part 2 on 10 “unique” meeting personalities you often encounter in meetings and tips to improve your interactions with them.

Written by Human Resources

June 10, 2010 at 11:07 am