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Many of us can think of a time when we were in a meeting and observed people who fit these characteristics.  We found this article that summarizes their behavior.

In the Star Wars movie's famous bar scene you knew, by their appearance, what zany character was sitting beside you. Each character had a distinctive look. Yet in business meetings you may have no idea about the group of characters with whom you're meeting.

That's because their normal outward appearances belie often troublesome behavior. Want to learn more about the crazy cast of characters you're likely to encounter in your business meetings? Whether or not you're armed with a light saber, you'll nevertheless be better equipped to do battle with these often-destructive forces who subvert business meetings with their bothersome behavior. Learn more about ten dysfunctional characters you'll meet in business meetings.


The Monopolizer thinks he or she is the only one with wisdom on various subjects at the business meeting. The Monopolizer believes everyone else is there to hear him or her speak - and so they do - incessantly. They don't appreciate business that meetings offer an opportunity to hear from many.

They prattle on and on, arrogantly acting as though their ideas or beliefs are inherently more important than those of other employees. Sadly other people shy away from contributing, intimidated by the Monopolizer's strangle hold on the meeting.

When facilitators allow an employee to monopolize a business meeting, it sends the message that their rudeness is sanctioned. The facilitator, or even other meeting participants, should indicate an interest in hearing from others in the meeting, to remind the Monopolizer that should indicate an interest in hearing from others in the meeting, to remind the Monopolizer that others can speak as well as listen.

 Tangent Talker

The Tangent Talker hijacks the topic of the group by taking discussions off on tangents - topics unrelated to the issue at hand. One minute you're on topic and the next minute you're in "left field" as your agenda topic has been taken on a tangent.

Your meeting leader's ability to recognize the tangent and refocus is essential to a productive meeting. "Let's remember to confine ourselves to the topic at hand" is a good way to get back on track. Alternately saying, "Let's try to avoid tangents" also labels such behavior as contrary to the group's aims. As well, you can "park" extraneous items in a "parking lot" list where they're noted, if only to be addressed later.

 Devil's Advocate

Let's face it, there's a Devil's Advocate in every crowd and in most business meetings, too. This person seems to relish taking the opposite tack. Whatever the argument being put forth, this person delights in taking an opposing view.

It's sport for them, an exercise in opposition. The more unpopular the stance the more exciting they find the challenge. Often this employee begins by saying "just for the sake of argument - I believe the opposite is true." While there is value in looking at issues from multiple points of view and to avoid group think, the Devil's Advocate applies their technique to every issue, every argument and every conversation.

Hold on to your agenda and get comfortable. This could take a while. A good business meeting leader can praise this person's ability to raise alternative issues. At the same time, the business meeting leader must indicate its inappropriateness, given time parameters or previously agreed upon issues.


The ultimate naysayer, the Cynic has a Masters degree in negativity. Adroit at using the phrase, "it won't work," they are skilled at deflating and defeating whatever motion is in motion. "Can't be done." "They'll never buy it." "We tried it once and it was a failure." Their motto: just say no.

Challenge cynical employees to think like the Devil's Advocate; suppose for a minute that the idea or project could work. Use a common conflict resolution tool and ask the Cynic to embrace the other side's point of view as if it were their own, and argue that side's position.

 Fence Sitter

Known for their paralysis by analysis, Fence Sitters are unable to make decisions. Despite being in a deliberative body, they are conflicted by multiple arguments, and can't "pull the trigger" when it's time to make a decision in a business meeting.

They provide fodder for the Devil's Advocate, the Cynic, and other characters with their ambivalence. Whether they are afraid of being wrong, or of disagreeing with someone else, or just going on record, they are a meeting monster for their inability to move the action forward.

Try to cajole the Fence Sitter into action. Remind them that they have a vote and were invited to use it. Ask them their opinions on matters to draw them out and get them on record.

For these tips and more visit,

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