Making Meetings “Magic”

December 11th 2017

by Tracy Parks, Think Productive USA

Likely your organization relies on decisions made by teams and your organization relies on the work teams do.

Ideally, teams show leadership and are creative. They work to resolve conflict, build on each other’s strengths, and work toward a common vision. On the flip side, teams can be a bit “messy”, too quick or too slow about making decisions, shy about making waves, mired in politics or posturing. Team meetings can become boring, wasteful, frustrating and at times, even explosive.

During a Making Meetings Magic workshop at this year’s Provender Conference, as we dove into ideas, conversation and evaluation of how to make meetings a bit more “magical”, I recall bringing forth a key idea. The suggestion that understanding the communication style each team member operates from will undergird the quest for better meetings. To that end, work centered around empowering people throughout an organization to see each person in terms of his or her strengths and communication styles is imperative.

This concept was brought home profoundly this past month when I had the opportunity to team up with another consultant at a day long leadership retreat. The retreat was with a team of 27 leaders all working for the same organization. The morning session (facilitated by a brilliant consultant) was focused toward helping this team of leaders better understand each other using the DiSC Profile. In the afternoon, my role was to weave that learning along with other tangible ideas into making meetings, well, a bit more “magical”.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with any individual strength finder “tool”; just highlighting DiSC as the tool used during this offsite. Additionally, this article is lightly touching on a few aspects of the profile I’ve learned about; consider me a neophyte not an expert. That said, you’ll want to understand a wee bit about DiSC to understand the thrust of this article.

DiSC is a behavior assessment tool which centers on four different behavioral traits: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.


Profiles are plotted within 4 major quadrants. (see below) I’m a “CS” and indeed lean toward the analytical, reserved, precise, private and systematic side of things!


Each behavior style will bring unique styles of communication and behavior to each meeting. The D’s and I’s will be assertive, dynamic and bold and tend to want to move quickly, whereas the C’s and S’s will be careful, methodical, calm and prefer to move at a moderate pace. Additionally, the D’s and C’s are logic focused, the I’s and S’s; people focused.


Okay, back to the offsite last month. As each leader entered the room for this offsite they placed a dot and their name on a large reprint of the four quadrants which resulted in something like the image you see below

Can you envision how this gave everyone in the room the ability to “see” the different profiles that collectively created their team? This team immediately began to understand why some of the magic was missing in their ability to communicate, engage, make decisions and get great work done. This opened the door to frank and empowering conversation, communication and the development of new tools and insight which will prove invaluable to the health, vitality and mission of this entire organization.

So, to reframe the thrust of this article. If you are looking to improve meetings within your organization, the place to start may very well be in the investment of a profiling or strengths finding tool. Not only will it raise personal self-awareness, but, when done in concert with teammates the entire team will better understand how best to work together. The investment is the basis to develop a common language that people can use to better understand themselves and people around them; building everyone’s strengths and talents.

Tracy Parks is the Director and Master Productivity Ninja at Think Productive USA, a productivity and time management training company serving knowledge workers worldwide.