Meetings. They’re a pretty polarizing subject. Some people (and most businesses) place a lot of value in conducting and attending thorough meetings that occur regularly. Other people would gleefully drink burnt coffee for a year if it meant not having to set foot in another meeting. They’re too long, they’re disorganized, they’re boring, the information covered could’ve easily been an email…these are all common (and valid) complaints. The reality is, meetings are an essential part of almost any organizations—but they do have a tendency to go really, really wrong. Luckily, there are ample online resources to transform meetings from dysfunctional to optimal.
We really liked the tips given in Dori Meinert’s article on SHRM.org, “7 Steps to Running Better Meetings.” Some of these include limiting the number of participants (fewer than eight is ideal) and avoiding unnecessary technology that can shut down dialogue. An HBR article with a similar topic, “Why Your Meetings Stink—and What to Do About It” by Steven G. Rogelberg, echoes Meinert’s sentiments while providing more reasoning behind the action steps you can take to give your meeting culture a 180°. “Before you hold a meeting, force yourself to make deliberate choices. First, know exactly why you’re convening and define your goals to set the stage for achieving them,” Rogelberg writes. “This process may include asking others to suggest agenda items, which not only promotes relevance but also increases ownership and engagement. If you don’t have a clear mission or a list of agenda items, you should probably cancel.”
These tips are sincerely helpful, but we think something is missing from the equation of x + y = better meetings. So how can meetings—the bane of many workplaces—be more engaging and productive?
A personality assessment like Everything DiSC Workplace® can help to bridge the gap between employees and optimal workplace communication, which is often put to the test in situations like team meetings. Knowing your own DiSC style, and those of your coworkers, enables you to adapt your communication style—and even your meeting structure—to work well for everyone involved. If you’re leading a meeting and know ahead of time who likes to make decisions quickly and who needs more time, you’ll have more information to plan the conversation and share information at the right time. Knowing what we know about DiSC styles, here are some of our own tips for creating meetings that feel like a productive use of everyone’s time:
Consider that D-styles prefer meetings with minimal small talk, and an agenda that everyone sticks to.
Allow i-styles to flourish by giving them the opportunity to express personal opinions and have open discussions with others.
To ensure S-styles feel comfortable, provide them with your meeting’s outline or agenda in advance so they can prepare.
Remember that C-styles don’t do well with making big decisions when they feel rushed or pressured.
Of course, everyone is unique, and the above example is not a one-size-fits all. Each Everything DiSC Workplace profile is highly personalized, resulting in a completely authentic user experience for each individual. For example, people with blended DiSC styles, like an iD, may require a detailed agenda but love having spirited discussions with colleagues! Likewise, someone with an S-style may prioritize “action” like their D and i-style co-workers, which gives them some more assertive qualities not common of most other S-styles. This is why the Everything DiSC Workplace assessment is so valuable: you’re able to better understand (and appreciate!) your co-workers in ways you hadn’t necessarily thought about before.
Whether you pay attention to them or not, meetings are in fact where your teams and your people are learning how they should behave and what they should be doing,” Meinert quotes J. Elise Keith, co-founder of Lucid Meetings in Portland, OR. “So identify the specific types of meetings your organization needs to run. Find great examples of how to run those meetings. You shouldn’t have to invent it. And set up a system that people can use successfully to become the organization that you want to become.”
We love the pieces by Meinert and Rogelberg to use as guides for running productive meetings…but nothing beats a detailed knowledge of the work styles of those participating in meetings. Who tends to be enthusiastic? Who’s doubtful? Who will jump in and offer their views? Who’s more circumspect and needs to be drawn out? DiSC helps everyone understand each other’s priorities, capitalize on strengths, and minimize less useful tendencies. In the age of the rapidly changing workplace, where company culture is more important than ever before, locating pain points (oftentimes, meetings and meeting culture) can help evaluate your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Leveraging a tool like Everything DiSC Workplace can help identify and fix these pain points, leading to a more desirable work environment for everyone. Meetings, meet your match.
Laura A. Davis is an Everything DiSC® Authorized Partner. As a global leader in delivering personalized, soft skills learning experiences that have an immediate and lasting impact on the performance of people and cultures of organizations.
To learn more about how Everything DiSC can engage every individual in building more effective relationships at work, explore the Everything DiSC Workplace® application and connect with Laura A. Davis at Laura@lauraadavis.com.