“He’s in a meeting…” says the receptionist. “I’m in meetings all day…” says the voicemail. “I’d love to see you but I’m tied up in a meeting…” says the parent to the child. “Meetings, bloody meetings…” says John Cleese in a humorous video course on running meetings.
Some of us remember before the time that a work day mainly consisted of meetings. Now, meetings have such a bad reputation that the term itself implies a lack of productivity. Almost everyone can remember being in a meeting and not knowing why. We know of senior executives who have called meetings that they didn’t attend. Others have called meetings and not remembered that they did. When called upon to chair the meeting, they’re at a loss. We once had a client that scheduled a management committee meeting every Wednesday—all day. By 5 PM the senior executives were ordering pizza and chicken so they could stay a few hours longer. Most committee members began pre-meetings on the Tuesday before the Wednesday management committee meeting. Then, to try to shorten the Wednesday meeting, sub-committees formed to have follow-up meeting on the Thursday following the weekly meeting. This tied up senior management in meetings for the better part of three days! They were trying to run their corporation two days a week. Our mission and passion is to make fewer meetings. We want to make those meetings that must occur, a little shorter. We want meeting agendas and a published ending time for meetings. We want clear messages, great visual aids, effective answers, relevant questions and fewer bloody meetings! Our meeting management course is augmented with a textbook, workbook, CD and a DVD.