I am blessed with the power to schedule the meetings I want to attend.
Jealous? Yes, I know you are because you tell me regularly how many meetings you attend that are not right-sized or focused or even require your attendance.
So what do you do?
First, be really clear about whether you:
- Need to attend a meeting at all.
- Can attend at the beginning, but not the entire meeting,
- Or, whether you can arrive late to the meeting.
Be ruthless in triaging your calendar!
If you must attend the meeting and it is BORING or USELESS, try these five tactics to create some productivity or sanity or whatever…
- Take notes. Not the notes from the meeting. Notes on something important to you. Plan to work on something or just review your to-do list or jot ideas on a problem, while looking up occasionally to indicate your presence.
- Watch the people. If the meeting includes key stakeholders to your results, but the content is driving you nuts, observe and think about what you see in the dynamics or behaviors. Meetings in which you are engaged in the content are always less productive on gathering info on the people.
- Daydream. OK, you can dream about your work, your future, etc. But one of my clients, who will remain nameless, took the tact to dream about intimate relations with his wife during insane, political meetings. Nobody knew; it worked for him.
- Mix-it-up. I worked for a partner in a high-pressured firm who said to me one day, “when the management meeting gets boring, I’ll do anything to create some excitement.” OK, I’m not advocating you start banging on the table and yelling across the room the way he did, but think about a question that no one is asking. Or, pose a solution that is controversial, asking the group to “be a devil’s advocate.” Have some fun!
- Tune into Your SELF. When all else fails, let-it-all-go. Know that the world is insane and that it just doesn’t matter. Because mostly, it doesn’t.
What meetings make you insane? Do any of these five tactics give you ideas or desires? Can you imagine another tactic?
Let me know.