I can’t begin to explain the importance of this line in one’s work life. If you don’t want to talk to a friend for a reason or none at all-“I am in a meeting, later”, if your mother/wife/husband/ other family members call too often out of paranoia- “I am in a meeting, I’ll call back”, if your client calls and you haven’t finished his work “I am in a meeting, I’ll call back!” It’s like an all time savior!
The only time this ingenious innovation really can’t be of much help is when you re really getting rogered, simply because you cant possibly have the time to text or answer a call when your ass is on fire! So you’ll probably just let it go and get back to it later saying, “Sorry I was in a meeting!”
Types of Meetings
Having established the various uses of this creation, I am moving on to explaining what a typical meeting looks like. There are too kinds, one is an internal meeting that your organization holds when the top level management feels they may lose money and the other an external one which is between the company you re going to extract money from and your team.
An external meeting occurs more often than an internal one. Sometimes when there is no need for a meeting you create an agenda that can keep both sides occupied for at least an hour. Ideally there will be a fancy conference room/ cabin bursting with chairs, a phone, a computer, and an Ac whose temperature will be so low that you’re sure to freeze. Although the total strength of people in this conference room would be 10 to 12, there is only one speaker and one listener. The rest of the people are mainly there to:
- Fill the room
- Take down the minutes
- Not to make their representatives feel alone
I’d even include playing games on a cell phone, texting, doodling and sleeping as activities the others indulge in. Also it makes more of an impact if many people are saying the same thing or at least pretending to. So occasionally these people back their representatives by nodding in agreement or by “that’s a good idea!” The rest of the meeting goes on pretty monotonously. At regular intervals you’ll hear “no I don’t think you re getting my point” or “yes I get your point but what I am saying is…” or “no, yes, no no, yes yes”, “that can be done”, “we cant do this!”
It clearly is extremely hard to pay attention to yes and no’s beyond a point of time, so the best way to fight sleep in this situation is to make sure you say yes to a cup of coffee when offered. There is no shame in asking for a second cup in case the meeting exceeds one hour. By the end of the presentation the speaker and listener both have lost track of their respective points of argument, which for the others is the best thing that happened in the whole meeting. At the end you’ll hear a “we’ll take it forward from here; thank you so much for your time.” This is your cue to pick up your belongings, shake hands and leave.
Internal meetings are something else altogether. An internal meeting is called for either when an important someone needs help with their work/ just needs to ideate or when something has gone terribly wrong. The first thing you should know about this type is that no one wants it! So to get people together is a task in itself. So when they say meeting at 1:00pm, by 1:20pm the last person crawls in. The junior most always has a writing pad and pen. It begins by talking about how screwed up the day is, goes on to what movie who saw the previous night, or some new ad/event in the ad industry (by this I am sure you gather that I work for an advertising agency).
Finally the person, who really needs that meeting, takes charge and initiates a meaningful discussion. Random ideas come in from here there and everywhere. Non heated arguments happen with almost everyone. Somewhere in the middle, the pseudo in-charge tells the junior most person “I hope you got all that down!” The poor crab is just so confused about the agenda let alone who said what, but never the less tries to scribble some crap. After 20 odd minutes, someone states the need to get back to work. This declares the meeting over and everyone disperses.
I’d like to end by saying meetings are highly overrated! I am not saying, there is never anything important to discuss in a meeting but most of them are held only because they have to be a part of work culture and be incorporated somewhere in your work routine! Also I cant deny they do help in organizing and managing work better at some level.