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About Your Meetings

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A meeting is a formal mechanism where people discuss and debate matters of mutual concern. A muster is an assembly for inspection and orders.

So, what type of gatherings do you attend? Are they really meetings or are they simply musters?

Meetings can consume too much time, effort, and energy. Often, they are simply information exchange sessions that could readily be done with emails or messages.

Some people feel so badly about meetings that they consider them to be dark alleys into which good ideas are lured and silently strangled.

But, there is light at the end of this alley.

To get the best from meetings, there is something you must do. You must engage with the other participants. That doesn’t mean you have to talk to them or that you have to like them. You simply have to see the role they are playing and use it to your advantage.

Here’s how you do it.  


Who’s There?

Who are the other participants in the meeting?

What are they really like?

Learn how your colleagues think in a meeting.

Learn how they operate.



At the start of the meeting, choose one person.

Listen and watch them very carefully.

Note which mode they are in.

  1. Are they dealing just with information?
  2. Are they drawing conclusions from their measurements, judgements, assessments?
  3. Are they alluding to or stating their beliefs?
  4. Are they expressing their emotions?
  5. Are they calling for action, giving commands or taking action right there in the meeting?

Take note of every mode.

Pretty soon, you will notice that they emphasize one or more modes and slide through the rest. Sometimes, they will miss a mode altogether.

That’s very significant.

Participant’s Name







Put together a little list like this.

Put a tick next to each mode they use, every time you notice.

Five People Meeting

Which Mode is Emphasized?
Which Mode is Ignored?

When you have finished, see how many ticks you have placed next to each mode.

Which mode do they focus on most often or most intensively?

Once you have their pattern of modes, you have extremely important information.

You will be able to read them and lead them quite easily.

Now, focus on another person in the meeting.

Becoming fluent in the sequence of modes allows you:

to perceive people’s purpose
to read their reactions
to predict their behaviors
to do something about it.

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