Anyone who has hosted or attended an online meeting will know the potential struggles of having to conduct web-based collaboration with different types of people (who might even seem reluctant to collaborate). Everyone has experienced a wonderful cooperation with someone on the other side of the world with whom communicating happens almost automatically. Like you have known them your whole life. With the new digital technologies you can collaborate on the web pretty much with anyone from anywhere in the world. This also means that there are tons of different characters you have to deal with who are used to their own kinds of team collaboration skills. There are some great and not-so-great characters in every meeting, just like in Game of Thrones. But which one are you?
Since GoT (Game of Thrones as all the fans should know!) can be seen, heard, pretty much even smelled everywhere you go whether you like it or not. We wanted to try and find inspiration on the different characters represented in the show. Every character has their own way of putting their team collaboration skills into practice. Whether you are an experienced meeting guru or in the beginning of your career. After reading this article you will most likely reconsider the way you act during a meeting. If you are the meeting host, good luck having a Game of Thrones meeting with these characters…
Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark
Oooh, Lord. I bet you would love to be described as a ‘Lord’. We all know that “Ned” is an honorable and loyal man. Whose death no one expected. But let’s not focus on that. His main struggle was always to keep everyone on a moral path. We really wanted to do what was right. Eventually, though, he was betrayed.
As a meeting host it is easy to end up being like our good old Ned: you try to control everything as well as you can. Allowing people to speak only when asked or not allowing to use mobile devices during meetings. In an online meeting you are the only one allowed to share their screen. You just want the meeting to run smoothly and everyone in your team to focus on collaboration. However, after receiving tons of (anonymous) compliments from the meeting attendees, you decide to loosen up. Do it soon, you don’t want to be betrayed like Ned! There are tons of ways to make a meeting and your team more collaborative without you acting like a lord. You can for example read our tips on how to make all your meetings collaborative.
Throughout Game of Thrones Sansa doesn’t really seem like she’s enjoying her time at all. Am I right? She also keeps ending up in other characters plots and schemes.
In every meeting, whether it is online of offline, there is almost always a Sansa present. Don’t be a Sansa. Except if you genuinely don’t care what happens during the meeting. Or in your career in general. Or in your life. There are ways to get out of the character of Sansa. Show excitement and enthusiasm. Contribute. Develop your collaboration skills. Otherwise you might find yourself doing someone else’s task after a meeting only because you were focusing on your split ends and didn’t open your mouth.
Bran is really liked by everyone in Winterfell (and Game of Thrones fans). He is young and curious, and he loves exploring new things. Even though he was crippled at an early age, it didn’t stop him from overcoming his limitations and becoming a somewhat hero in the Game of Thrones series.
If you consider yourself being like Bran in a meeting, you probably are full of fresh ideas (maybe you have quite recently graduated). You may have had a moment in a meeting where you presented your ideas but they were shut down or you froze. Don’t worry, give yourself time to get used to being in meetings and pitching your ideas. Over time you will see yourself rising to the occasion and getting better at presentations. If you want more tips on how to develop your presentation skills even further, don’t hesitate to check out our post.
Throughout the first couple of seasons of Game of Thrones, Jon Snow is somewhat of an outsider and distant compared to the other characters. He never seemed to fit into any of the groups. He even had to live among the wildlings as a spy. After he becomes the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, he finally belongs somewhere: he is seen as a leader and not a follower.
You might have been in a position in meetings where you are just like Jon Snow: you know what’s right and you know how things should be done, but you don’t speak up. You’re either afraid to or simply cannot be bothered. Whenever there is brainstorming happening in teams in a meeting, you are left outside of the collaboration. Collaboration in a team will not get any easier if you simply don’t go for it. Everyone makes mistakes in the beginning and it’s ok. The collaboration barriers won’t break on their own: you have to break them yourself. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. You already have the team collaboration skills you need. Soon you will find yourself in a role of a meeting host and not just an attendee!
We all know that Samwell isn’t really the most courageous person, but he is intelligent, resourceful, and loyal. He is always there when you need him (especially if Jon needs him).
If you’re a Samwell, you probably do other people’s work for them especially after meetings. You are afraid of your boss so you agree on doing tasks you don’t even like to do. Try to stand up for yourself! You surely don’t need to finish Sansa’s blog post every time she gets bored with the topic.
Brienne of Tarth
Brienne didn’t use to be the confident Brienne we all know. She used to have low self-esteem. But after her fighting skills grew, her confidence skyrocketed. Despite the repeated insults from knights, who called her “Brienne the Beauty” (what a terrible insult!), she held her head up high and believed in true knighthood. She is the real female hero on Game of Thrones.
Like Brienne did, you should hold your ground and believe in yourself. Especially for women, meetings can be a tough environment to have a say or not be interrupted, especially during team collaboration where there is a dominant character present like Daenerys (you should read on). Some people need to work harder than others to gain respect from other meeting attendees. Don’t give up: there are tons of tips online how to build you confidence and collaboration skills for meetings. You can for example check our tips on how to avoid being interrupted in meetings. Even though you might be inspired by Brienne, we don’t suggest you start any fights in meetings just to get more confidence…
Tyrion Lannister (The Imp)
Tyrion is really intelligent, well-read and skilled in politics and business. Maybe the most skilled in the whole Game of Thrones series. However, he is mostly treated as a joke and a “second class nobel”. Even though his father doesn’t seem to bear any affection to Tyrion, his brother Jamie treats him with respect and kindness.
You’ve always had a feeling that your boss doesn’t like you. He tends to put you in difficult situations during meetings. This is because you usually just focus on making jokes rather than collaborate with others. Luckily there is Jamie who is usually on your side and backs your ideas, if you have any. Otherwise people don’t really expect much from your contribution but just laughter and funny puns. Maybe it’s time that you stop being the ‘class clown’ and start gaining respect from others. Otherwise whenever you do have a great idea, it won’t be taken seriously. For the next meeting you can prepare a full list of bullet points of your views on how to fix the issue on hand. Because let’s face it: you don’t want to waste your skills and smart ideas throughout your whole career.
Daenerys Targaryen (a.k.a the ‘Mother of Dragons’) becomes the heir of the Targaryen and plans to reclaim the Iron Throne herself. She receives three dragon eggs, and over time struggles to maintain control of her dragons which grow dangerous. She also acquires an army with which she conquers three cities, determined to end slavery and injustice there.
If you’re a Daenerys, you’re not even the meeting host, but you are definitely acting like one. You try to hoard all the devices and tools and you dominate each conversation. The meeting host has no control over you. This is all due to the fact that you own the three most powerful chargers in the office. People want a chance to borrow them and thus they do what you say. If you notice you are the only one who seems to have a say in the meeting, take a step back and let for example Bran contribute his ideas and develop his team collaboration skills. You’ll see that points that other people make are quite good as well. And lend your chargers to others if you don’t use them!
Extra: Khal Drogo
You basically just sit there. If you say something, no one really understands because you mumble/speak in a different language. And you look scary. You have zero team collaboration skills. Others probably would prefer if you didn’t attend the next meeting…