We all have different thoughts on the inevitable workplace Meeting – for some, they are the scourge of employment, akin to scraping your fingernails down a chalkboard until you reach the skin and then dipping them in vinegar.
The studious note taker
We all take a notepad or a diary along to a meeting but for 95% of us, this is merely to show willing and to prove to our boss how seriously we take our shit. Or to show off our Power Rangers notebook.
But for one person in the room, every utterance is furiously scribbled down. Which means no-one can scratch themselves furtively as it will likely be minuted.
Ah, the clown of the group. Interjecting speeches and discussions with irrelevant quips which, at best, result in polite chuckles, someone rolling their eyes and proclaiming ‘what are you like!?’ and the person leading the meeting making a mental note to no longer include them in important discussions.
Thankfully, the joker rarely takes hints so will entertain us with at least 10 interruptions just dripping with bants.
The one who doesn’t want to be there
Well, to be fair, few of us actually WANT to be there, especially close to lunch time or home time. But while most of us hide it due to, you know, professionalism, there is someone who will be wearing an expression that suggests their seat has been replaced with an angry wasp’s nest.
Brazenly tapping away on their phone, liking memes about how much they’re looking forward to that glass of wine tonight and tweeting about how shit meetings are, this person will barely even look up when directly addressed.
And yet, as much as you’d enjoy the same level of distraction, you don’t have the bottle to even touch your phone.
The chatty one
The confident talker who randomly strikes up separate conversations with whoever they are sitting beside during the meeting is completely oblivious to your barbed wire stare across the table. Or the fact that the person they are chatting to is deeply uncomfortable and is both scared of getting told off for distracting everyone and of telling them to shut up.
The inquisitive question asker
We’re all curious people and we don’t always get what the meeting is about – but even if you feel like you might have wandered into the wrong board room or you are terrified that the meeting’s topic means your job is now redundant, there is a golden rule of etiquette. Save the damn questions.
Unless the meeting is saving you from going back to a pretty dire shift – in which case the rules change dramatically – no-one will thank you for keeping them there longer (particularly at home time or lunch time, the two best parts of the day) by asking questions. Just hang back and ask them when everyone’s gone.
There is a special pit of lava reserved in Hell for the person who comes in late and asks questions at the end which were already answered in the time when he or she wasn’t in the room.
The suck up
There’s eager to please and there’s crawling up a superior’s posterior and setting up camp in their inner chambers while massaging them from inside. If you are the one who sickeningly gushes over the manager’s every idea whether it’s suggesting tea or outlining pay cuts across departments, you are one of the most despised members of the meeting. Including by the manager probably.
The insufferable skeptic
At the same time, let’s not be that person who is negative about everything. At meetings, we will all encounter ideas that we are not happy with and the whole idea of a gathering is to share concerns.
However, one person’s role in the meeting is to shut down everything said – by everyone. Even if they don’t vocally condemn your idea as a ‘waste of time’ or ‘complete shit’, you will at least hear them tut or shake their head in the second that you open your mouth.
The one who is always late
‘I’ll catch up with you’ they will call before then bursting in loudly fifteen minutes later and needing to be caught up with developments so far. Worst case scenario is that the chair of the meeting will decide to hang on for them leading to quarter of an hour’s worth of awkward weather chat.
The silent one
It can be pretty difficult to get a word in edge-ways during an active meeting so one or two don’t even try. Either from giving up, hating speaking in public or fear of being judged by Mr or Mrs Skeptic, there is always that person who never contributes.
The one who is too busy
Apparently, some people are busier than others and have even less time for this crap than you do. They walk in hurriedly, panting with exertion and stress and insist on having their say first before then making a big deal of asking everyone if they can then be excused and then running out before waiting for an answer.
If only we all had jobs to do, eh?
STOP CLICKING THAT F***ING PEN, MARVIN, OR I WILL SHOVE IT SO HARD…*breathes heavily*
The one who doesn’t know when to stop
Meetings are very rarely a thrill so the one thing a speaker can do is try and keep things concise for the sake of everyone’s sanity – and taking into account that the one who asks questions will also eat into the designated time too.
Oh, what’s that? 30 Powerpoint slides? Never mind, then.
The buzz words king
‘Cards on the table, we need an exit strategy from the profit analytics system as it no longer serves our internal knowledge process. We’re in the early stages but a new innovative bizmeth is being mindshared by logistics so we will prioritise ironing out the edges at this early stage and then implement the details via our cloud network to all parties.’
U wot, Carl mate?
The important one
Someone in the meeting is genuinely important. Another is self important without much justification. Both are to be feared in meetings for different reasons – the former because they can hire and fire you if you mess up and the latter because they will be the cause of your bleeding tongue as you bite down on it hard to stop yourself reminding them that you out-rank them.
Writer: Duncan Lindsay for Metro.co.uk