A dummy’s guide to surviving meetings – Case study

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.’

Problem statement
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.

Proposed mitigants
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.



59 thoughts on “A dummy’s guide to surviving meetings – Case study

    1. So meetings are set because someone wants a long coffee break ? 😆 😆
      Brilliant in depth analysis 😛
      2 hour meetings are real loooooooong, I am lucky for our meetings are never longer than an hour 😀 😀 😀
      So good to see you back to blogging 😛

      1. Thanks CB 😀 2 hours is normal, there are longer ones! It totally sucks, especially when none of the attendees have anything to contribute or takeaway 😀
        Hope I keep up this time! A lot to catch up on the reading too 🙂

    1. lol…2 funny di…

      i parrticularly liked the “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’

      i tell u if someone banned meetings the GDP would be at 14% or something

      1. i swear! I find it most ironic when we have 3 hour sessions to discuss possible elimination of NVA activities! I mean seriously, hello, you are in the midst of a huge one!

  1. I wish I was working….this would’ve been a great guide to me too. But I loved the way u wrote on behalf of the bigger group, who pretends to enjoy such meetings. 🙂

    Written very well with that tinge of humor. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ums 😀 I am jealous of you, that you dont have to sit through these everyday! We are so bugged that people time their offs in weeks when there are a lot of meetings! Imagine! 🙂
      Glad you liked!

  2. Hey Di! Great to see you back. 😀 A meeting for 2 hours? Obviously anyone would yawn, if the meeting has no purpose or if it comes under the scope you have mentioned. You have given some brilliantly analyzed points to mitigate the effect. After all experience counts! 🙂

  3. I go to meeting cause we get nice food , 🙂
    otherwise i usually take the last seat and go to sleep …

    loved all the points no wonder you been gone for long now i know you been finding these facts and all 🙂 he hehehe

    1. Atleast food gives you something to look forward to! We have nothing 😮
      And you couldn’t be more correct, life has been one long meeting! 😐

  4. I wish i could sit through a meeting!

    I am so bored at home that even meetings seem fine..remembered all those day long review meetings we used to have and i had to even note down minutes without falling asleep post lunch!

      1. Hmm..i think i used to desperately wait for the coffee break or take a loo break to wash my face..sometimes i used to be so sleepy that i would just scribble something and the next day i would struggle to understand what i noted down in the minutes!;)

        1. Hahaha! 😀 Man, I never make out what I might have noted in meetings ever 😀 I am sure the others were not helpful either, considering they would have slept through the whole thing!

  5. haha..cheers to Tulsa and Chandler 😀 . I had once nodded off during a con-call :)). But so far our meetings have been short and sweet..and the long ones really need to be long, if some important issue is being discussed.

  6. Lol… That was a fun read DI… I hate long meetings too… My previous manager used to hold early morning status meetings for a team of 15 to 20 ppl. My turn will just be for 2 mins. I have to end up being there for more than 40 mins. True, Meetings are more irritating if there is nothing that we can takeback from it or contribute to. In my current firm, we have a rule that there should be no meetings after 2 PM. This is really a good and productive culture. Get all ur meeting held by 2 and work atleast for the rest of the day 😛

    Oh yeah, thats a good comeback post 🙂


    1. If only bosses understood how much work could be done in that time they make you talk about it! 😦 Till 2 itself a large bracket for meetings! 😮
      Thanks 😀

  7. ajay

    And you are a back! What a post to begin with. Loved it. 😀 And yeah I just started friends and I’m totally awed. My fav. Chandler is just awesome. 😀

    1. Yes 😀 finally! Though I am yet to catch up with all the posts I missed !
      Thanks, and dude, FRIENDS is a cult series, you will only love it more and more. Btw, Chandler is without doubt the best!

  8. Rabindranath

    Nice comeback post DI..

    You made me recollect the 2 hour long status meeting that me and my team members used to have with the client every friday morning.. and my part in it – not even 2 mins.. 😦 … i used to do d same type of napping part which u told.. have d chin on the palm and face d notes.. hehehehe..

    I have been caught once too napping away in a big profile meeting.. phewww.. had to lie a lot to get away with it… 🙂

    loved ur post and brought back lotttsssssssss of memories of looooooonggg meetings..

  9. LOL @ “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”. Perfectly framed. I pride myself in having mastered this art. Touche.

    Wonderful case study this one. How I hope those ‘biggies’ would research the sad side effects before subjecting us to such torture.

    1. In all probability, when we reach the ‘biggie’ status, we would end up doing thew same thing 😦 We should sign some sort of an oath never to do that!

  10. (a) Hullo? When did you make your comeback? This post never showed up on my Reader! 😮
    (b) What the? Am I the only one waiting for a the blue moon to make my comeback? 😮
    (c) ROFL! 😀 Totally ROFL! 😀
    Especially like the mitigation for Sleeping! Precious it is.
    Oh and doodling on the back page helps. You can do random calculations on the actual page, and act like you are adding up something on the back page, while you’re actually making an awesome caricature of the boss. #TrueStory

    1. 😀 Long ago! I have disappeared again since then too 😦 Which is sad!
      I am sure you can totally relate! man, we do need a survival mechanism at work right 😐
      And, get back!

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