I’m sure all of my fellow cubicle or office dwellers can relate to the feeling of “ugh” that washes over you when you see a meeting request pop up in your email. And that’s mainly because you know that no matter what the topic of the meeting will be, all the players will be the same. Here are the types of coworkers that I’ve witnessed time and time again in meetings:
1. The Showoff – This coworker is not conducting the meeting, but you wouldn’t know it by the way they interrupt the speaker to try and take over. They’re not trying to help anyone, they’re trying to show everyone in the room how smart they are. And in the process, they end up extending the torture. It takes everything in me to not yell “If you know it all, why are you HERE?!”
If this is you: Either take over the presentation completely or bring some coffee to slowly sip throughout the meeting so your mouth will be occupied.
2. The Gun-Jumper – This coworker likes to interrupt people to ask a question that is currently being answered. If someone passes around a handout with information, they’ll raise their hand to ask a question that is answered in bold print on the first page of the handout. If the person who has the floor starts to say “two plus two equals f…”, this coworker will immediately raise their hand and ask “But what about two plus two? What does that equal?” Aaargh! Just give the person running the meeting a chance to tell you what’s going on. Hands down, ears and eyes open!
If this is you: Stop talking forever. Or at least just pay attention.
3. The Playback – This coworker is the opposite of the Gun-Jumper. The Playback likes to ask questions about something that was JUST explained. And usually they will wait until the speaker goes through a long, complicated explanation. Then at the end of the meeting, when everyone is about to finally be set free, they’ll ask the speaker to repeat and re-explain everything. They were so focused on asking their question, they couldn’t even hear when it was answered.
If this is you: See advice given to the Gun-Jumper.
4. The One Who’s Trying to Stay Awake – Full disclosure: this person is me. Normally when I’m included in meetings, there’s about 5 minutes worth of information that actually pertain to me. The rest of the time, I’m struggling to prop my eyes open. It doesn’t help that our conference room is usually very warm. God help me if the meeting is after lunch…full stomach, warm room, cozy chair…I feel like I’m being set up.
If this is you: Either prop your eyes open with toothpicks or overdose on caffeine before heading into battle. Or, in the most extreme cases, get up to use the restroom and never come back.
5. The Eye-Roller – Full disclosure: This person is also me. If you muted everything around you, you would still know what’s being said just by the facial expressions of this person. A scrunched up face means something doesn’t make sense. A blank stare means they’re thinking about how this meeting should have been an email. And an eye roll usually means that they’re fed up with one of the four people mentioned above. They can usually be counted on for a little comic relief, whether they mean to or not.
If this is you: Try to fix your face fast, because if the wrong person catches your WTF expression, it could lead to another meeting.
Now how many people are ready for battle the next time you go into a meeting?!
Please make sure that you follow my “helpful” advice if you are one of these 5 people. Did I miss any? What kinds of coworkers do you find in YOUR meetings? Drop a comment below!