Five meetings in two and a half days is too many by any measure. Consensus says they’re a waste of time and achieve little. The most frustrating part of most meetings is the lack of direction, either because the agenda is poorly thought out or worse there is no agenda.
“Every discussion in a meeting has a diminishing curve of interest. The longer the discussion goes on, the fewer people will be interested in it.”
Mark McCormack, US sports agent (b.1930)
It’s been a long held perspective of mine that meetings are forums for grandstanding, bullying and/or gathering a group because the decisions have not been made and time is running out. Co-opting others to make decisions that should have been made independently which basically, comes down to poor time management, procrastination and inadequate leadership. It is a harsh judgement but when you’ve been around offices for a while it doesn’t take long to realise who the movers and shakers are. They’re the ones getting things done, ticking the boxes and calling meetings that are time-limited, have an agenda that works and have the skills to provide an environment in which everyone has equal air time. The soul destroying part of most meetings is decisions aren’t followed through which means we’re back here again in a month’s time saying the same things.
A committee (meeting) is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled
Sir Barnett Cocks, British political author (b.1907)
The most boring meetings are those that have been called to get information across. Powerpoint presentations are long past their retirement date and Microsoft has failed to provide an updated range of templates to help keep us interested rather than wandering off in a daydream.
I wonder what’s in my lunch box .
Is the MOTH cooking chilli con carne or fish for dinner.
I’m surprised how many loo breaks I need or how much coffee it takes to get me through some meetings. I’m not expecting a laser light presentation with jumping water fountains, although it would certainly get my attention, but we need an injection of ingenuity to jump-start our meetings. Is there a lone IT geek who can save us from death by powerpoint? Some meetings make use of web cams but it is generally more interesting to fantasise about what those on the screen are wearing on the bottom half of their body than listening to what’s being said.
A good start would be to smarten up our act, stop big noting ourselves, blaming others when things go awry or being the child in the group that constantly needs attention and causes distractions. Could it be for some that meetings are a pleasant interruption from productivity. Certainly there are times when less formal gatherings have better outcomes but it takes for everyone to behave in a grown up manner and have a common purpose: let’s get the job done, get out of here and start implementing the next phase of the project.
It hasn’t been a productive week and I am not in the habit of wishing my weeks away but today all I can think is TGIF tomorrow!