Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bored? Lonely? Call a MEETING!!

Meetings are useless.

I got an email recently telling me I need to attend more meetings from the same person who tells everyone that they need to attend more meetings. Meetings in which 90% of what is discussed does not at all affect me, my job, my customers, etc. Meetings in which none of the questions that are now popping up will be addressed, because these topics are NOT typically part of the meeting.

I attended these meetings in the past; this is how I know this.

Why is it that Corporate America insists that meetings are a good idea? Meetings do nothing except create circular conversation and prevent employees from being productive. It's been suggested to me that I bring my laptop with me and do other work while I'm in these meetings. Sure, I could bring my laptop to a meeting and do work while I'm there but doesn't that defeat the purpose of me going to the meeting? Aren't I not paying attention at that point? Furthermore, should I also bring the papers and paperwork I need to do my work to the meeting? I'm sure that looks awesome and will get me brownie points in the eyes of my peers and superiors.

Manager: "Danielle, what's that?"
Me: "This? Oh. Purchase Orders from Joe's Aircraft Manufacturing."
Manager: "This meeting is about Bob's Aircraft Maintenance. Your work is irrelevant to this meeting. You're fired."

See how that goes? (OK, so maybe it wouldn't be that extreme in real life, but you get my point.)

Why all the meetings? Wouldn't it be more efficient to send an email or even stop by someone's cubicle and say "Hey, here's what's going on and here's what I need YOU to do"? Or send out an action item memo with what actions people need to take? I've (and I'm sure other people have) sat through too many meetings where the person running the meeting will say "Here's what needs to happen", then to have 20 minutes of arguing about NOTHING, only to have the "what needs to happen" be the final conclusion at the end. I think that everyone's time across the country in every company would be better spent in a more efficient communication medium than a useless, unproductive meeting.

I live in Dilbert.


Dan said...

I agree that many meetings are overvalued, and that people who have practical work to do (i.e. not managers) don't benefit from taking time away from actual work to sit in an unproductive meeting. But for those managers themselves, who have to coordinate actions across departments, each with a number of subordinates, I see the value in meeting together to make sure everyone's ideas are in harmony.

Doug said...

I think we should have a meeting to discuss this post and how we would like to approach rectifying this problem. Meet me in the conference room at 2pm.

silverneurotic said...

Yeah, sounds familiar. We have a meeting a month-and every month without fail the same topics get brought up with the same outcomes. Then, when someone tries to bring something new into discussion (like me) it just ends up changing direction to something else entirely. When someone makes a valid suggestion-it is never followed through. It's all very frustrating.

Kstar said...

Leave it Doug to bring humor to your postings :-)