The Art of Meetings

by Nathan Darling - Oct 28, 2009

Not many people know this about me because I keep a real tight lid on it, but I hate meetings.  I find them to be the single biggest impediment to my job.  Nothing irritates me more than to have to stop working on a project so I can give a status report in a meeting about why the project is not done yet.  “It’s because I am here talking about it instead of where I should be, doing it.”

That rant felt good.  I should probably in fairness point out that another reason I hate meetings is that I have a rare undiagnosed medical disorder known as borderline narcolepsy that results in some rather embarrassing and potential job threatening situations when I do attend meetings.  But I digress.

The reason I am sharing this personal problem online in a blog with all you loyal readers is that I have found a possible solution.  I like to call it “The Art of Communication” because that is what LearnKey titled the training video in which I found hope.  The training refers to three separate and distinct situations where communication skills are a must.  There’s written communication, verbal presentations and meeting interactions.  It came as a surprise to me to find out that meeting communication has its own set of rules and methods that are different from simply talking, but it makes sense in a purely hindsight kind of way.  So that’s why I hate meetings.  I have been doing it all wrong.

Others may be enthralled by the instructions on written communication and presenting, because let’s face it, that’s important stuff.  But I am easily distracted, and I skipped both of those portions of the training, to learn what I am doing wrong in meetings.  (besides dozing off).

The training explains that the first problem is we have too many of them.  Hear Hear!  It discusses alternative communication methods for status updates such as voice mails (which we might call emails in today’s world), or company memo’s.  It also clearly points out that calling a meeting and not telling people what the meeting will be about is asinine.  It is important to Forecast Your Meetings, so people can come to the meeting prepared.  I recommend this training to anyone who can handle the slightly dated fashions and hardware devices that are displayed.  The training even hints at a suggestion to my medical condition.  I believe they call it coffee.

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