Nobody likes meetings.
Oh, sure, there are always people who want to schedule meetings with you… but nobody actually likes them. We all know that 90% of the goals in the typical corporate meeting can be better met in approximately 1/63rd the amount of time by simply walking to the desk of the relevant coworker, parking your butt on a chair or desk corner, and chatting with him or her. You can get right to the point, explain exactly what’s needed, and handle the rest by email. You’ll even get a chance to ask your coworker about his or her family and maybe make an off-color joke or two. Your coworker will think you’re an all-right kinda guy and do a great job for you. Wasted time is negligible. You never fight off sleep. Stuff gets done. Seems easy, right?
But no, it’s never that easy. You have a project to get done? “Let’s schedule a meeting.” Ugh.
OK, so now, instead of cracking ethnic jokes for 20 minutes then carrying on with all the other stuff I have to do, here I am in some conference room. But wait! We can’t meet about it now. No no no! We need to make sure that Steve and Judy can attend! Steve and Judy are important members of our organizational hierarchy. Neither have done anything useful since 1994, but we need to make sure they can attend so we can stroke their egos. Awesome. We all know that Steve still hasn’t figured out how to turn on his computer and that Judy will play with her Blackberry the entire time, even while addressing everyone in the room. But they gotta be there. Fine. Steve’s on vacation until Wednesday, and Judy’s working on this other project… can you do Thursday at 3pm? Sure, why not… Of course, there’s a whole email back-and-forth for about 3 weeks as things “come up”. Eventually, sometime within the next two fiscal quarters, you get a chance to “all sit down together”.
Then the pain really begins.
Pour yourself a nice big cup of cold stale coffee from the urn, because you’re gonna need it! First, there’s invariably a Powerpoint presentation that is used as a substitute for either intelligent thought, composure, or public speaking ability. Often it’s all three. You entertain a few inane questions and concerns from people who have no real involvement in your project. You probably discuss the plan you’ll undertake to make the plan of how you’re going to do the project. Then Legal rains on your parade for having too many definite articles or superlatives in your documents.
If you’re really lucky, your meeting rolls though lunch time, and you get to have dry tasteless turkey sandwiches from the deli down the street. Oh boy!
So, finally, the meeting ends. You’ve covered everything you needed to cover. And you only fell asleep TWICE!! Good job! This project would have taken 20 minutes talking one-on-one with a coworker, so you scheduled an hour for the meeting. Of course, it somehow took three and a half hours. Now you’re leaving work really late. That lovely girl you were going to meet for a date thought you stood her up and bailed. Now you’ll never marry and die cold and alone. Meanwhile, your buddy Pete wasn’t able to pick his kid up from school on time, so the school turned the kid out onto the street, he got picked up by a gang and is now dealing drugs.
Meetings ruin peoples’ lives and accomplish nothing. Nobody likes meetings.