Re: True insignificance

Subject: Re: True insignificance
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 16:38:53 -0500

Ok, here's an ugly response that I don't think has been addressed yet.

Why do you need a meeting? Could it be that the corporate culture looks at
meetings as of little importance because little is ever accomplished in a

How many meetings have you been invited to where your contribution was 5 minutes
worth and then you had to sit there listening for hours? Or, have you gone to a
meeting only to be stuck in hours of brain storming?

Do you have department progress meetings where 3/4 of your time is spent
listening to the infinitesimal and uninteresting (to you) details of each
participant's activities?

A recent Dilbert summed this up best.

Many meetings boil down to brain-storming and fleshing out options that should
have been listed long before the meeting took place. In my mind an effective
meeting should only be concerned with approving a choice or ironing out
irreconcilable differences between interested parties.

It's no wonder that people don't want to show up for some meetings. If it's to
accept the review of a document, a new document should be available to all
attendees before the meeting that incorporates all changes that require
discussion highlighted and all contentious changes highlighted with the
different options listed.

That way, the meeting is a matter of: Yes, Yes, No, option 3, option 6, Yes, No,
meeting adjourned.
The alternative is hours of everyone bickering over the same change but in
different wording, punctuation, etc.

I'd hazard a guess that the meeting that started the discussion may suffer the
same problems. You need a powerpoint presentation to decide how to change
release notes?

Just send relevant questions to each individual concerned, choose the best
suggestions, propose the solution to each person individually. If the process
can't come to something everyone agrees on then, and only then, set up a
meeting. Come to the meeting with two or three alternatives and a set agenda,
avoid discussing any other options.

Meetings should only happen to avoid having the person calling the meeting from
becoming a go-between between individuals at the meeting. They should not be
called to have the person calling the meeting avoid doing some foot work to meet
with each participant individually.

Eric L. Dunn

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