Some personalities that come out in meetings, especially at big software companies.
- The Talker
You know what I'm talking about. People who think talking is the same as contributing. On bad days I'm that guy.
- The Boss
This person may or may not actually be the boss. The main strategy is to get everyone talking and working together constructively, then use the political capital he's just gained to hijack the meeting and implement his own agenda at the last minute. Get on his good side, because he'll be the boss eventually.
- The Sigher
This guy (almost always a guy) will audibly sigh whenever he disagrees with something. If pressed, he'll refuse to go into details on why he disagrees or what exactly his problem is. I don't like this one.
- The Lurker
Sits in the meeting, slightly aloof, and doesn't participate at all. He may offer a single quietly stated opinion near the end of the meeting. Mostly harmless.
- The Stealth Lurker
You might think this guy is a real lurker, but he isn't. He's the one who says nothing for the whole meeting then offers a single quietly stated opinion near the end. Then, no matter what everyone else agreed on, his plan gets implemented. How did it happen? Who knows. This guy has some power you don't understand. Get to know him.
- The Meanderer
This one is like the talker, except he meanders all over and creates long, drawn out metaphors that nobody understands. A friend at yahoo (the same one who hates all new yahoos) once said about a meanderer: "I love [person]. Whenever we're in a early morning meeting I throw him a real softball question then just lean back and zone out."
- The killer
Aims to destroy other people rather than win arguments or get his way. This guy is annoying but not really dangerous since he is easily recognized. The best strategy is to put him in a meeting with another killer, get them arguing, then excuse yourself and go play air hockey.
- The productive, reasonable contributor
If you get three of these people together in a meeting you should change the topic to quitting and starting a new company.
I'm sure I've missed a lot here. Please add your own in the comment section.