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Blog: Help! Our meetings are sucking the life out of our team!

I remember early in my leadership career, I hated meetings. I had to attend so many of them that I could hardly get my job done. I remember thinking, “what a wasteful use of everyone’s time and the company’s money”.

One of the many reasons the meetings were so dreadful was because they (more often than not) lasted way to long and whoever was leading them only spoke one language… “theirs”. When you are a leader, it is valuable to know your own language (this is self-awareness), but you also need to know how to speak the language of others. Each brain (person) is unique in the way they think,  and behave, even how people gain or lose energy is different. At MSBCoach we primarily use a tool called Emergenetics  Human Behavior Assessment to help leaders learn this important information. Emergenetics is a brain/science based tool to help individuals better understand how their brain works, what gives them energy and what drains their energy. It also helps them understand the brains (thinking, behaviors and energy patterns) of others. This is important if you want to be an effective leader and lead meaningful (not wasteful or boring) meetings that engage every brain.

Emergenetics divides the brain into four thinking preferences and three behavioral preferences:

Thinking Preferences:

  • Green – Structural – prefer consistency, procedures, tradition, practical, predictable, learns by doing
  • Blue – Analytical – prefer credible data, logical, clear thinker, rational, learns by analysis
  • Yellow – Conceptual – prefer ideas, brainstorming, imaginative, visionary, learns by doing
  • Red – Social – prefer people, connecting, working together, socially aware, empathetic, learns from people

Behavioral Preferences:

  • Expressive – may prefer to get energy from being quiet, alone or in small groups or the other end of the spectrum prefer getting energy from being a gregarious and a performer
  • Assertive – may prefer to get their energy from being quiet, maintaining peaceful energy or the other end of the spectrum and prefer to get their energy from driving hard and fast to get things done
  • Flexible – may prefer to get their energy through sticking to decisions once they are made or may prefer to get their energy to being open to what others want

The thing to remember as a leader is that there is not a right or wrong, it is just different. Each one of the behavioral and thinking preferences brings strength to the team.

We do not all think or behave alike. This is not rocket science to you I am sure, yet it is amazing how many leaders lead their people and run their meetings all the same way. Running effective meetings is brain science and Emergenetics can help leaders to be successful. Unfortunately, most leaders don’t understand  the science behind effective meetings and and they do what they know as the “best way”… which is the way “they” prefer to think and behave. This may be effective with people who are just like them, but, the opposite happens with people who have different preferences from them. Take for example, Erica is the boss, and is structural/left brained. Her meetings always start and end on time, they are by the book, expected and predictable. People always know what to expect. But what happens when Steven who is social/right brained wants some time to connect with people and he never gets it? or Tom who is analytical/left brained and wants to discuss the research and data but tends to get shut down because his topic is not on the agenda? Anthony who is conceptual/right brained and wants to share his ideas and possibilities for the future, and he is told to, “focus”. What happens is brain science, these team members disengage and Erica with the best of intentions has lost them, and is not leading effective meetings with her team.

Here are four tips to help leaders bring brain science into their meetings and make them more effective:

  1. Be self-aware of your own thinking and behavioral preferences when leading meetings - you will have a bias to lead out of them because they are familiar and comfortable to you
  2. Recognize there are several other combinations of thinking and behavioral preferences and their preferences need to be met in order to keep good energy, ideas, information, structure and connection in the meeting room and to the team
  3. Leveraging and valuing all seven of the preferences will greatly benefit you and the team
  4. Be sure your meetings tap into all seven aspects of the brain:
  • Have an agenda and send it out in advance
  • Be sure to include time for the following:
    • People to connect
    • Sharing of ideas
    • Giving credible research and being practical
    • Pace the meetings so they are not too fast, nor to slow
    • Be sure to have energy with expression but not over the top
    • Be open to new possibilities and ideas even if a decision has been made
  • End on time
  • Set meeting ground rules
  • Only schedule meetings when necessary and not just because it is time for a meeting
  • If you want someone to present then know their preferences, they may need advance opportunity to prepare. Be careful ever putting people on the spot, even if it is information they know.

If you put these tips into practice, I guarantee you more effective meetings. Do you have any effective meeting tips you have discovered that work? If so, please share them with us, we would like to learn from you.

If you would like to learn more about Emergenetics for yourself personally or for your team, please contact us at or give us a call at 804-502-4319.


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