It’s Tuesday morning, and I have a two hour meeting. This is a horrible meeting, but it’s not because of the length. It’s because of the people in it. Two hour meetings can be productive. If you’re in sync with the other people, and things are happening, two hours can fly by.
This meeting is never like that. People show up unprepared. They talk about irrelevant things. They show up late and have people go back over what’s already been discussed. The same decisions are rehashed and remade every time. People go over their task list in detail. In short, nearly every rule you’ve read about “how to have a good meeting” is broken. The only thing we really do right, as far as I can tell, is end the meeting on time (mostly).
I don’t run this meeting. I don’t really have any power in this meeting other than sharing the information that’s needed. The only thing I can do is set an example. I’m there a few minutes early. I have an information sheet handout for all the participants that contains only the information that they need to know. When it’s my turn to speak, I don’t wander off on tangents or bring in unrelated things. My parts of the meeting tend to go very smoothly and quickly.
So off I go, to waste two hours of my life in a meeting that could be conducted in half an hour because people can’t be bothered to care.