Meetings are slanted to go in my favor. In most cases they are predestined to go my way even before I walk into the room. It's not that I manipulate the process ahead of time so I can be more effective than the person sitting next to me. The reality is that the odds are in my favor so that I'm going to come out on top...and there's precious little the introvert next to me can do about it.
Real Time Thinkers
I spend a large part of my day in meetings. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Meetings are how team members communicate, bounce ideas off one another, strategize options, and support one another during stressful times. Meetings, for the most part, are good.
My mind moves fast in meetings. Just to clarify, 'fast' does not always equal 'effectively.' But for one reason or another my uber-extroverted personality combined with my brain that seems to be racing along like Fernando Alonso on a Formula1 circuit automatically positions me well for the outcomes I'm hoping for in meetings.
How is that possible?
Am I a loud mouth that forces my position on my colleagues? Do I bully others into accepting my position? Maybe I'm such a talented salesman that I missed my calling and should have been running a used car empire instead of spending the last twenty years in healthcare?
The truth is that our world of non-stop meetings favors real time thinkers.
The opposite of my behavior in meetings is what is displayed by those that need time to process through what is being said. They aren't willing to jump in to the conversation in the blink of an eye, nor do they typically feel comfortable speaking out in group settings. This group sometimes prefers to offer an opinion once the meeting has been completed, and typically only to the meeting leader. That's okay...but not if the goal is to have their insights become part of the group's awareness.
Introverted or reflective thinkers are not necessarily prepared to respond in the moment, which can do a disservice not only to them, but to the group as well.
The Meeting Leader's Job
The challenge for the person leading the meetings we all attend (which in some cases means we are the ones leading) is to ensure a proper balance of managing the real time thinkers while simultaneously drawing out the introverted thinkers. Not an easy task.
Each person should also not over participate, otherwise they shouldn't be there either. It simply doesn't cut it to say that due to being an extroverted real time thinker that their ideas have to be the ones that the group is forced to accept.
Meeting leaders need to ensure everyone participates. Period.
How About You
I bet you go to a bunch of meetings each week. Do you notice who seems to be a more effective person in those settings? Is it the quiet, thoughtful one; or, is it the one who seems to be "have it all together?" Which one are you?
I'd love to hear from you.