Thursday, 14 February 2008

The 10 Commandments of Meetings

You've been sitting in the meeting for 93 minutes. It feels like 93 days. It was supposed to last an hour, max, but the Senior VP is in the room, and the point of the session was to discuss his pet project, and no one wants to be the first to crack. Everyone else is busy making gratuitous points designed to flatter Mr. Big. You're entertaining fantasies about throwing a cream pie, or worse, at the blowhard who just won't stop talking about how successful the project will be. You know it's doomed to fail; it's the high-tech equivalent of selling ice to the Inuit.

You're asking yourself, who's in charge here? How did all these reasonably well-intentioned people get so far out of whack? And, more to the point, how can this juggernaut be stopped?  

Since mass laryngitis is not an option, you need the Ten Commandments of Meetings. Moreover, you need to post them prominently in meeting rooms so that everyone can begin to follow them – especially the leader. Remember that even Moses had trouble with his unruly flock from time to time, so be prepared for the occasional outburst of the modern corporate version of Baal worship.

  1. Thou Shalt Always Know What Time It Is
  2. Thou Shalt Not Forget the Main Reason for Meetings
  3. Thou Shalt Remember the Golden Rule of Meetings: Praise in Public, Criticize in Private
  4. Thou Shalt Not Convene Meetings Outside of Normal Business Hours
  5. Thou Shalt Not Use Group Pressure to Logroll Conclusions
  6. Thou Shalt Not Use Meetings to Destroy Others' Careers
  7. Thou Shalt Keep the Personal and the Corporate Distinct
  8. Thou Shalt Remember that the Best Model for Meetings Is Democracy, Not Monarchy
  9. Thou Shalt Always Prepare a Clear Agenda and Circulate It Beforehand
  10. Thou Shalt Terminate a Regularly Scheduled Meeting When Its Purpose for Being No Longer Exists

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