The Difficulty of |
come to believe that the committee meeting is the blight of America. It is sapping
our strength, destroying our initiative, and making it almost impossible to get
anything done. And they're real boring. |
In our society today, you can't
even spit without having a meeting about it. I know I was surprised when I got
the memo - "Meeting to discuss spitting. When and where appropriate. And the dangers
of doing it in the wind. Mandatory attendance."
Somehow, no decision
made, no action taken, no dry erase board left unfilled with lists and diagrams
of influence, without a group of people sitting around a conference table staring
dully at agendas and repeating themselves incessantly. It has become the American
paralysis. I blame creeping socialism on this attack on individualism. Of course,
I also blamed creeping socialism when my cat ran off. It makes a good scapegoat
that creeping socialism.
Since this unnecessary evil doesn't seem to
be going anywhere, I've been working on some proposals to make them a little less
painful. After giving them a trial run, I've come up with some do's and don'ts
that, if everyone follows, can get us out of meetings faster. I'm also including
a few tips that will allow you to shape the tone and direction of the meeting
and stop creeping socialism.
First, the do's. An effectively
1) Talk only when you have something pertinent to say.
Listen so people don't have to repeat the same thing over and over.
are such things as dumb questions, so don't ask them.
are far more extensive. I've had to learn about these the hard way. Trust me,
these are not good ideas.
1) Ask to determine the meeting
chairperson by having the candidates fight to the death, and then say you've got
five bucks on the fat guy.
2) Shout "Says you!" every time someone makes a
3) Even if you have a great 30 minute story about
seeing Ernest Borgnine at a Denny's, save it until after the meeting.
the people sitting around you as models as you doodle pictures of heads with knives
through them, disembowled corpses, and "die, pig, die" scribblings.
6) Say, every time someone refers to the group as "we," "We?
What, do you have a mouse in your pocket?"
7) Take off your shoes, even with
the disclaimer, "Whoo-whee, my dogs is barking."
8) Eat soup.
pictures from your hernia operation.
10) Claim God told you item #3 on the
agenda is a sin in His eyes and the entire committee is now damned.
every discussion dealing with logistics or machinery with "Hmmm, what would MacGyver
12) Inform everyone that you were tired of living with your parents'
poor decision and invite them to witness your circumcision.
to keep the mood up-beat and positive, thus short-circuiting those meeting
extending arguments, try these meeting tone enhancers.
1) Give standing ovations
2) Turn down the lights, drape your coat over your shoulder,
and give a misty eyed speech telling them that you've been to a lot of meetings
and you can honestly say this is the best group you've ever been around. Then
3) Lots of group hugs.
4) Discreetly pass out little
notes with smiley faces and little sayings like "Your lips are pretty" and "For
someone of your heft, you've really got the sweating thing under control - Good
5) Fall from your chair while laughing uncontrollably, sobs and all,
whenever someone says anything the least bit funny.
what do you do when the meeting has reached the point of diminishing returns?
Try these pointers to end that meeting that is dragging on too long.
violently from your chair and writhe in agony, pretending someone poisoned your
coffee. If someone has been especially annoying, point at him and say "That SOB
is trying to kill me so he can have all of the treasure for himself." That'll
keep them busy for a while.
2) Rub your stomach and moan, "Man, I guess eating
those 3 day old burritos I found under my front seat wasn't such a good idea after
3) Tell your Ernest Borgnine story.
January 20, 2004