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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

Most annoying co-workers

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For those of you who have a love-hate relationship with your colleagues at work, this article should either make you nod your head furiously at its truisms (meaning you’d immediately forward it to your friends who have been listening to your misery for the longest time)  or you’d laugh out loud at some bits of it (only because you have yet encountered such a category yet, but trust me, your time will come). Either way, it makes good light reading for a rainy Friday.

According to Maui R. Drilon for Yahoo! Singapore, every office has annoying co-workers and the only difference is that they come in different shapes, sizes and genders. They include:

The Whiner. Absolutely NOTHING goes well for this person. If she gets a raise, it’s too low. If she’s given more vacation leave, she stresses that she could use more. If given a promotion, she’ll spend the next week drowning herself in cocktails, lamenting over all the extra responsibilities she suddenly has. The Whiner also doesn’t care whether or not you want to hear about her stoooopid client meeting.

The Oxygen Sucker. Think of it this way: if your office were made up of 21 people and your company were in a spaceship, and you had oxygen good enough for only 20, you would not have second thoughts about kicking him off the ship. What makes him such an oxygen sucker? First off, despite him being in the company years before you, he still really sucks at his job. That – or he doesn’t really do his job. Most of his time is spent watching episodes of RuPaul’s “Drag Race” on Youtube, and updating his status message on Facebook (“Bench-pressed twice my weight at the gym!”). Seriously, this guy gets paid?

The Office Gossip. She’s not really that annoying, unless the story she’s spinning is about you. What sucks about the Office Gossip is you don’t know just how buddy-buddy you should get with her. Be aloof and you won’t be in the loop with the latest gossip – get too close, and she’d know all your dirty little secrets (which make for perfect blackmail material).

Read on to find out which category you are currently sharing the same office space and stale recycled air-conditioned air with: [via]

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As usual, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment in the link just under the headline and let us know if you have new categories of annoying co-workers to add.

Written by Lee Xieli

March 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm

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