Make Your Meetings More Productive With These Simple Tips!

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of an interminable staff meeting?  Listening as your various coworkers figure out ways to spend 10-15 minutes a piece saying “I have nothing that needs to be brought to the attention of this entire group, but here’s a list of problems that I have which would better be worked out with individual stakeholders at some later date.”  Or perhaps you’ve spent an hour silently determining exactly how cold your lunch delivery is going to be as everyone takes turn hijacking relatively short conversations with “jokes” which only eat up time?  Well if so, TMS is here to solve your problems!  If you are the person making the derailing jokes/comments/pointless diatribes about the heat- we all know that the heat got turned off too early, Jerry, nobody needs to spend 20 minutes rehashing that, Jerry!- then you’re awful and you should stop.
1.  Remove all the chairs:

Definitely be sure that the boss doesn't get a chair.  Especially if this guy is your boss.

Definitely be sure that the boss doesn’t get a chair. Especially if this guy is your boss.

Nobody likes to stand.  Nobody American anyway.  Standing is for communists and other Europeans.  In America we sit and we sit and we sit.  Unfortunately, this excessive sitting does have one drawback:  it makes people comfortable and so they are more incline to talk and talk and talk.  A meeting where everyone stands will be a meeting where people get to the point.  No standing-only meeting has ever lasted more than 10 minutes, and that meeting only lasted that long because Churchill caved and allowed Roosevelt to stay in his chair.  Stupid polio.

2.  Close the Bathrooms!

Closed!  Do the pee pee dance elsewhere!

Closed! Do the pee pee dance elsewhere!

Put up signs on all the bathrooms saying that they are closed for cleaning at least one hour before the meeting starts.  After doing this you should immediately go around to the offices of everyone who is going to be at the meeting and give them a Big Gulp and a Chipotle burrito.  They’ll be thrilled!  They also won’t have any desire to spend more than 5 minutes doing the pee-pee dance once the meeting starts.  For best effect the bathroom door signs should indicate that the restrooms will be reopened exactly one minute after the meeting start time.

3.  Kindly Shut The F Up!

Be the silence you wish to see in the world. Image by Daniela Vladimirova va Flickr.

Be the silence you wish to see in the world.
Image by Daniela Vladimirova va Flickr.

Sadly, not all of the problems with meetings are the other peoples’ fault.  You are likely just as much to blame.  No matter what happens when it is someone else’s turn to talk, do NOT engage.  Allow them to provide their information without comment.  Do not make a joke about their tie.  Do not provide a follow-up to one of their points.  Do not laugh when someone else throws a pie at them.  Your job in meetings, no matter what your job is, is to be the void into which words flow.  Remember, nobody in meetings think they’re the reason it is dragging on so long just like nobody thinks global warming is happening because they burn coal in their backyard for fun.  The problem is so big that no single person accepts responsibility for it.  But as we already learned, you are the reason for global warming, and you are the reason meetings run long.  Every extraneous comment adds to the problem.  Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.  The cold, implacable, silent solution.  Like an open grave, you are where chatter goes to die.

By following these three simple rules you’ll be sure to create the kind of environment where routine meetings no longer swallow your time and your soul!  You’ll be free to get back to the important business of ordering from Seamless, browsing TMS, and being the kind of productive worker that has made America the heart of a thriving global economy!

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