This study deals with a subject that has been a cause of extreme concern and frustration in a major portion of the corporate world – Meetings. Every morning, when one enters the workplace, and logs into his Lotus notes/Outlook, the first thing he/she does is to check his calendar. The calendar usually shows blocks of time highlighted in a different color, referring to topics which one might or might not recollect. However, if it shows on the calendar, one is destined to be present for aforementioned discussion. These discussions are called ‘meetings.’
Wikipedia defines a meeting as ‘a gathering of two or more people that has been convened for the purpose of achieving a common goal through verbal interaction, such as sharing information or reaching agreement.’ However, our experience shows that this term is widely misinterpreted these days, and used for a variety of unrelated purposes. This has led to a number of negative implications on said attendees, discussed in detail in the next segment.
These pseudo meetings have been noted to cause a variety of negative impacts, some key ones noted being
– Severe sluggishness of the neurological functions (or drowsiness)
– Extreme usage of the facial muscles (also called yawning)
– Mental disorders where individuals imagine themselves in non-existent scenarios and places ( or day-dreaming)
– Increased probability of gyan sessions, missing increments and bonuses, in case any of the above coincides with any Superior’s awake moment
– Accidental acceptance to a proposal that you be posted to Tulsa (Point will be understood only by true F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fans, rest refrain)
The pseudo meetings are of a large variety, but for the purpose of this paper, we refer to;
– Meetings set up because someone thinks ‘it is good to have a meeting’
– Meetings set up because someone has to prove why he/she is being paid a salary
– Meetings set up to discuss the solution to a problem, which would actually take the same amount of time, or even lesser to resolve
– Meetings set up because someone thought ‘Ah well, my friend did not come today, so no long-drawn coffee break, so why not this instead’
– Meetings set up because someone’s Goal sheet states ‘ Monthly meetings with team’ as an item
Individual has already accepted the meeting request, and does not have any reports important enough to quote as a reason to escape. In short, he/she is scr****d.
Now, it has been accepted that the solution to most problems is to get rid of the root cause, who in this case happens to be ‘someone’, but let’s be practical’ So instead, we will concentrate on how the victimized individuals can safeguard their interests, now that they have entered the meeting room. We term the below as mitigants, and not solutions mainly because we belive there is no ‘resolution’ to an evil such as this, and the most we can do is reduce the impact to some extent.
– Choose your seat wisely. Do not assume that sitting away from the biggies is the best place always. Never sit close to the presentation screen. The best place would be right after the biggie, such that you see his back while looking at the screen. This way, he will never notice your yawns or even if you nod off.
– Always carry post-it notes, stuck to your regular diary/notebook. Why you ask. People tend to peek into your notebook, in which case doodles, or comments on it would more than visible. Post it notes are disposable, mobile, and can be hidden in a second.
– Play nice meeting games, like counting the number of times someone uses the word ‘process’, or ‘basically’, or ‘fair point’. Other games can be noting down the various situations when people rephrase the exact same thing over and over again, and present them as different points. Nod wisely while doing this.
– Once in every 15 minutes, go through your list, and pick a couple of sentences, jumble them, and make a new sentence, albeit with the biggest words possible. In all probability it will be a ‘good point’.
– If the above doesn’t happen, try to say ‘good point’, or ‘I totally agree’ to some random statement. Doesn’t matter what is said, what matters is who said it. Choose biggies for this.
– If you just cannot help falling asleep. rest your chin in the palm of your hand, with your eyes towards your notes, and fiddle with your pen. This gives an impression that you are pondering over some of the imaginative comments that have been made so far.
– Do not panic if someone specifically asks for your opinion on something you have not heard a word of. Just smile , and say ‘ Well. honestly, I am a little on the fence about this, but I would say we really need to analyse the pros and cons better before coming to a conclusion.’ It will work.
All in all, following a part of, or all of the steps above, will pretty much ensure that one survives through the 2 hour torture one is being put through. However, it has to be noted that these are interim fixes to this issue that is impacting most of the corporate junta, and a more conclusive fix would be eradication of the ‘someones’ described in the Scope, or ensuring strict adherence to the definition of ‘meetings’ as described in the Problem statement. Till then, God save us.