Episode 38: You May Be A Jerk And Not Even Know It

Have you ever been in a meeting with someone who was loud-mouthed, obnoxious and completely unaware of any and all non-verbal signals coming from absolutely everyone in the room?

You sit there…almost feeling embarrassed for that person…but, yet, you don’t say anything because you can’t get a word in edgewise?

I’m gonna bet this has happened to you at some point in time.

It happened to me a week or so ago. I was in a meeting with volunteers at the state capitol advocating for increasing access to mental health resources for children. 

One of the guys in my group - a litigation attorney - could not read the signals from the other members in our group.

He was dominant, demanding, obnoxious, intolerant…

…and we were lobbying legislators (both Republican and Democrat) to vote in favor of the bills we were discussing with them.

After the first 10 minutes in the first meeting, I knew our meetings were not going to go well.


This guy had ZERO self-awareness of how he came across in our conversation. 

The legislators and staff in the room were sitting back in their chairs physically positioning themselves away from him. They were positioning laptops and journals across their chest to block themselves from him.

After our meeting, we walked into the hallway and he said, “Well…that went well!”

I can be very direct (depending on the situation) and said, “Really? You thought so? Because no one could get a word in besides you. You need to soften your tone and let others speak.”

What do you do in a situation like this?

Do you…

Try to break the streak and interrupt?

Sit quietly and let them dig their own hole?

Keep smiling…and maybe (just maybe) they’ll take the cue and shut up?

This type of situation could be a real bear,  depending on your personality and communication style…

…which is why having an understanding and awareness of your communication style is critical, especially if you’re an executive or business owner who is responsible for selling ideas (or business).

If you’re the DOMINANT (extrovert, task-focused, results oriented, intense) or INFLUENCER (extrovert, positive, energetic) type, be aware of your dominance and energy and let others in the room have an opportunity to speak up and participate. In other words, be sure to shut up and listen on occasion. 

Soften your tone and use non-verbal cues such as head nods, smile and lean in to show interest and respect. Prompt questions with others in the group so every voice is heard.

If you’re the STEADY-RELATOR (introvert, people-focused, calm, steady) or CONSCIENTIOUS (introvert, task-focused, non-emotional, analytical) type, you’ll need to come prepared to the meeting with your talking points and ready to discuss when prompted…or better yet - get out of your comfort zone and take the initiative to speak up. 

Sit up in your seat - shoulders back - to signal non-verbal cues of confidence. Gaze with purpose to whomever is facilitating the meeting. This signals your interest and willingness to participate.

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If you are looking to learn more about the DiSC assessment, how to communicate with others or to best understand your communication style, check out for more information.