Written by Jim Babb

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If you’ve ever been in a meeting, chances are you’ve encountered one (or more) of the following dudes. Whether they mean to or not, they prevent work from getting done and irritate other people while doing so. They tend to suck up the room’s energy and demand special treatment, either overtly or passively. This can drag everyone else down, making the meeting less effective, less creative and less likely to result in positive outcomes.

A good solution is to avoid inviting these dudes to your meetings, or better yet, to ban them from your office. Alas, those options may not be realistic, so here’s a handy guide that includes tried-and-true dude mitigation techniques.

And yes, they are dudes.

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Mister Details

This dude misses the forest for the trees. He’s really into trees. And bark. Wow, does he love bark. Did you know that bark is made up of a layer of tissues, the innermost of which is called phloem?

Look, details are important. Complexity is important. There’s always nuance to consider. But, left unchecked, Mr. Details will sidetrack important conversations with tangents, wild-goose chases, edge cases and lectures on bark structure.

How to handle this dude:

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Professor This-is-Bullshit

This dude couldn’t give a fuck about this meeting. He’s already decided that the mission will fail (and he’s happy to tell everyone about the failure he sees coming). He thinks the whole conversation is a waste of his time. He’s pretty sure there’s something more important he could be doing. However, for some reason this dude still shows up with the intention of being a wet blanket.

How to handle this dude:

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The Devil’s Ad-bro-cate