Making More of Meetings

How many times have you attended meetings that have turned out to be a complete waste of time?

Was it due to the way it was led?

Was it due to the behaviours of the attendees?

What is the answer?

Meetings improve as communication skills improve

Individual red10 clients often tell us how meeting effectiveness improves as communication skills improve.

However, they also say how difficult it is, even painful, when they are the only one working hard on communication behaviours. So how can we improve our communicating behaviours?

Professor Neil Rackham set the gold standard for Communicating Behaviours when he created his Behavioural Analysis Framework.

What is Behavioural Analysis?

Behavioural Analysis can be traced back to researchers in the 1950s who:

  • Devised a list of verbal behaviours
  • Counted the number of times each behaviour was used during an observed period

Rackham and his colleagues picked this up in the late 60s/70s and iterated through at least five versions, removing snags so that the framework:

1. Counts behaviours that correlate with successful, productive outcomes
2. Enables people to easily make personal behavioural change
3. Lists a small number of differentiated behaviours that are meaningful to both the observer and the participant
4. Is reliable, i.e. two observers would count behaviours the same way

Latest version of the Communicating Behaviours

There are 11 behaviours, colour-coded into BLUE, GREEN and RED.

We’ve written articles on some of the behaviours – please click on the links to explore them further.

BLUE “I Centred” behaviours

Rackham’s ‘Blue’ behaviours are GOOD – we need them, though they can be overdone – and we can note that they are ‘I’ centred.

  • GIVING INFORMATION – Offering facts or opinion
  • PROPOSING – Putting forward a suggestion that is actionable
  • DISAGREEING– Voicing a difference of opinion, including some reasons

GREEN “Other-Person Centred” Behaviours

Rackham’s ‘Green’ behaviours are GREAT – they are unlikely to be overdone – and we can note that they are ‘other-person’ centred:

  • SEEKING INFORMATION – Seeking facts or opinions, normally by asking a question
  • SUPPORTING – Catches a proposal and ‘supports’ that it was made
  • TESTING UNDERSTANDING – Establishes whether an earlier contribution has been understood
  • SUMMARISING – Restates earlier contributions in compact form
  • BUILDING – Adds to a proposal that has been ‘supportively caught’
  • BRINGING IN – Invites another person to contribute

RED “I Centred” Behaviours

The ‘Red’ behaviours are NOT TYPICALLY USEFUL and are to be avoided:

  • SHUTTING OUT – Excludes another person from contributing. Includes talking over someone
  • DEFEND/ATTACK – Being defensive and/or attacking another person

Want to make a change?

A great starting point would be to choose just one behaviour to work on, from the GREEN list, and make a concerted effort to apply it more. Let us know how you get on.

Making this accessible

It maybe that reading this article is enough for you to start experimenting with changes in your approach, but for most people it needs some further explanation and practice.

red10 have a Skill Masterclass that introduces Rackham’s Communicating Behaviours using group exercises and simulations. Seeing your Green %s increase, and connecting it to better responses from other people, encourages further improvements that can literally be life-changing.


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