Survey confirms what we all know: Colleagues are annoying jerks in the meeting room

New research from Colmar Brunton has given a name to our pain and identified the personality types – including Parrots, Smarty Pantses and Pen Clickers – most likely to enrage their co-workers during workplace meetings…

The research identifies the behavioural traits most likely to irritate others during meetings, with the worst offenders being ‘Generals’ (people who dominate the conversation to the point no-one else can contribute), ‘Black Hat’s (those that are unnecessarily negative about everything), and ‘Phone Junkies’ (those more engaged with their mobiles than the meeting itself).

Jessica Balbas, account manager with the market research firm says that the General’s dominance in meetings was the most despised trait (30%), followed by the Black Hat’s negativity (27%) with the Phone Junkie close behind (26%). 

“Other pet hates include the Bully (25%) who wants everyone to agree with them, the Hijacker (23%) who goes off topic and distracts everyone else and the Chatterbox (23%) who talks too much and says nothing useful,’’ she says.

When asked how to describe themselves in meetings, 20% of Kiwi workers thought they were ‘Wallflowers’ (someone who has nothing to say), followed by ‘Fiddlers’ (who can’t stop fidgeting during meetings), or ‘Eager Beavers’ (13%), those who can’t help but talk over others during meetings.

More women (32%) than men (26%) see themselves as Wallflowers, with women also more likely to be Eager Beavers in meetings.

“Let’s not forget Parrots, disliked by 18% because they repeat others’ ideas and claim them as their own,” Balbas continues, “the Smarty Pants (13%) who is full of unnecessary jargon, Workaholics (3%) who spend their time in meetings working, or the irritating Pen Clicker”. 

“Men (12%) are twice as likely as women (6%) to be the Nuclear Bomb in meetings - a person whose ideas silence the whole room,” she says.

And finally there’s the Snail (12%) who has no sense of urgency and is constantly late for meetings.

“The start of the new working year is a chance for Kiwis to take a good, honest look at themselves and change their meeting behaviour where necessary. Your work colleagues will thank you for it.”