I’ve been thinking lately about how much I dislike certain meetings. I don’t dislike ALL of my meetings. So I wondered, why don’t I like certain meetings? I think I spent an entire 26 seconds pondering this life-defining question. The answer came quickly: oh yeah, they’re the meetings that don’t end on time.
How hard is it to end your meeting when it’s supposed to?
There is a common theme in these excessively long meetings: too many people who think what they have to say is more important than anything else on the agenda.
Oh wait. These meetings don’t have a written agenda.
I don’t always have a written agenda either. BUT when I run meetings, I start out by saying, “okay, here’s what we’re going to talk about and this is what I want us to accomplish.”
One of my meetings started before our end users arrived. I told the developers in the room with me: “Look, I want you guys to help me steer these end users into thinking that their request is what we actually want them to request, and we want them to request this.”
It worked, too. They walked out thinking it was all their idea when we decided the best way to program this application before they even showed up to the room. That’s what they get for being late. Oh, and that meeting ended early. Wow.
So just because I like lists, let’s make a list of the reasons why I dislike meetings that go over:
- Chairs in meeting rooms are never comfortable; if you make me sit in one of them longer than it says I have to on my schedule, I would like you to pay to send me to the chiropractor or to get a massage.
- When you ramble on and on about your issues, I feel like you’re telling me, “hey Larrie, I’m really important and need all of this time to hear me talk because I think whatever input you have isn’t as crucial.”
- The longer you talk, the more my mind drifts off and before long, I start drawing cartoons in my meeting notes of stick-figure-Larrie walking down some nice mountain path running along a stream with one cloud in the sky; it’s a picture of where my mind has wandered.
- If I’m calling into your meeting from home, I would like for you to pay for the extra cell phone minutes I use listening to you ramble.
- If you’re keeping me from going home, especially on Fridays (for more reasons than just because it’s the start of my weekend), I might never forgive you. Do you want that?
And just to let you know that there is a positive side to these meetings, I do have one list-item of why I like these meetings:
- I get more time to draw.