Every meeting i’ve called or attended in the last 12 years has been different. Following are some of the archetypical cast of characters I have observed (and at some time been myself)…
Single agenda lobbyist: the ‘sal’ comes to the meeting with the intent of driving one particular agenda item for which he is passionate. Sal will say his peace and may bring it up again if not satisfied with the response, but generally moves on. Unlike…
Pitbull: does not enter the meeting with an agenda item, but is constantly sniffing one out. He latches onto one somewhere mid-meeting and gets all asbergers on his issue. Then, during the recap of the meeting, adds the cherry on top by making his point one of the takeaway items… Yup. Gotcha.
Stranger: the guy sitting at the end of the table who has never attended any previous meetings on the topic. Usually spends the meeting just listening though he privately realized 3 minutes in that he does not need to attend.
Sponge: the one who does not say a thing but seems to be listening very intently. Maybe even taking diligent notes. I’ve benefited from those notes at times.
Non-sequitor: sometimes disguised as the sponge then suddenly brings up a point he clearly thinks is related, but the rest of the room silently agrees is not. Staring and blinking ensues… Everyone moves on.
The friendly: just when you run of gas trying to fend off the non-seq and pitbull – the friendly speaks in support of the point you are trying to get across. Yes! Go friendly person. That’s exactly what i am trying to say.
The egghead: bordering on obsessive compulsive, this detail-oriented chap is the one everyone turns to when a discussion leads to the question ‘is x possible?’
Worker bee: attends the meeting simply as an excuse to sit down and catch up on emails. When the conversation is directed toward him, he will likely respond with ‘what was the question again?’
The final word: this is a rare sighting indeed, but a critical one in the life of a project. You’ve heard the name mentioned throughout the project, but now you finally meet the fw with a couple of weeks left. She will decide in the first moment of the meeting whether the project will live, die or be drastically altered.
I could easily follow up this post with people i’ve met on the train.