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Chapter 3. At the End of the Meeting > Tip 16 How to Avoid the World’s Worst Me...

Tip 16 How to Avoid the World’s Worst Meetings

Louis E.Goose, president and CEO of the now-defunct Doldrums Inc., offers his secret techniques for the meetings he used to hold. Tip 16 is simply to avoid doing what Mr. Goose did, perhaps by using the meeting planning form on page 37.

  1. Call meetings for everything. Don’t even think about whether a memo or a few phone calls would work instead. A general rule: have as many meetings as possible.

  2. Invite everybody to every meeting. Then plan to make everyone stay the whole time, even if only parts of the discussion are relevant to any one person.

  3. Don’t tell anyone what the meeting is for. This way you can begin with “I suppose you’re all wondering why I called this meeting…”

  4. Don’t use an agenda. Or if you do, don’t give it out beforehand. Surprise, surprise!

  5. Don’t worry about the meeting room. Let furniture, supplies, and AV equipment take care of themselves. Assume that others will bring everything they’ll need. If you end up needing anything they don’t have, play it by ear.

  6. Show up late. This way you look stylishly busy. Besides, everyone knows that “ten o’clock” is really slang for “twenty after.”

  7. Try to cover at least 10 or 20 important items in any given meeting. Overload the group whenever possible.

  8. Dominate the discussion. This is especially effective if you’re the boss. Even if you’re not, try to talk as much as you can about whatever you want. Ignore others’ ideas.

  9. Say “Yeah, but” often. A powerful technique to stop any newfangled, rock-the-boat, “creative” idea that horns in on your talk time.

  10. Use sarcasm. If “Yeah, but” doesn’t work, try interrupting with ridicule. At the very least, do lots of frowning, folding your arms, and looking away. As you get more confident, try raising your voice and losing your temper—this works like a charm.

  11. Carry on a side conversation. Let’s face it, any meeting is an excellent chance to catch up on the latest gossip.

  12. Don’t say anything. If suggestions 8–11 feel wrong for you, just be silent for the whole meeting. Bring a doodle pad to pass the time. Avoid all eye contact.

  13. Leave things alone. If anything goes wrong with the meeting, don’t fix it. Let someone else take responsibility. Protect yourself at all costs.

  14. Let the meeting run on and on. Don’t worry if you’re way over the scheduled time. The longer the meeting, the better. Just be brave and keep going. Avoid breaks if possible.

  15. Never take minutes. Or if you must, don’t hurry getting them distributed.

  16. Avoid summaries. At the end of a meeting, never ask, “What have we decided?” or “Who’s going to do what?” You’re dealing with smart people—they’ll figure it out.

  17. Never evaluate your meetings. They’re probably just fine as they are. Besides, do you really want to know?



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