TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Things I have seen attempted (some successful, others less so, YMMV depending upon the corporate culture):
1) Eliminate status meetings altogether... everyone sends in a status report which is compiled and distributed out to the group. As an alternative, status reports must be compiled and distributed 24 hours in advance of the meeting, and discuss ONLY those items marked as Issues or Action Items. The rest of the stuff may be required for archival purposes, but you don't need to rehash it when people can read it for themselves.
2) REFUSE to regurgitate any meeting happenings for those who show up late, but do provide meeting minutes with action items.
3) Set a company rule that failure to respond to a meeting invite is not an option. Accept, tentatively accept or decline, but do not let it sit in your Inbox.
4) Set a company rule that if the organizer and/or sufficient number of required attendees are not in the seats 5 minutes after the planned start, all are dismissed.
5) Include the NOT PRESENT invitees as such in the meeting minutes and make sure the next level of management gets a copy. Any decisions recommended during a meeting without these required attendees should be highlighted as awaiting feedback and delayed due to non-attendance.
I have not put all of these into practice, I've only observed them in various incarnations over the years. My general rule of thumb is that 99% of meetings are a total waste of time and the other 1% are designed to make people feel like they've wasted their time. And yet I go, and usually get the critical but grinding job of taking the minutes.... sigh.....
Connie P. Giordano
The Right Words
Communications & Information Design
(704) 957-8450 (cell)
"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney
> -------Original Message-------
> From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
> Subject: RE: How to...
> Sent: 01 Aug '07 13:16
> Hey again.
> I got a few suggestions, both off-list and on, but everyone seems to have
> missed that it was not me calling the meetings. It was a project manager,
> trying to keep everybody informed about the status and upcoming
> actions/requirements (from each department) for all the product release
> schedules she's overseeing - and also to get everybody's input regarding
> problems, schedule-changing resource or timing problems, etc.
> I was just one of the loyal few who sat our bums in seats and waited each
> time, until we had to give up and re-re-re-schedule. Most of the invitees
> are managers or designees (it is vacation time...), and several did have
> other commitments, some of which cropped up at the last minute... all the
> usual forgiveable reasons/excuses, but only when taken individually. When
> they occurred simultaneously for several people, who were necessary to the
> proceedings, the proceedings couldn't proceed.
> Anyway, one of the truants (a Product Manager) sent around a note chastising
> everyone including himself, while recognizing/highlighting the value that
> the particular meeting brings to us all. I replied by sending the link to
> the "Herding Cats" commercial from EDS (thanks, Susan).
> We'll see.
> The information contained in this electronic mail transmission may be privileged and confidential, and therefore, protected from disclosure. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to this message and deleting it from your computer without copying or disclosing it.
> Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
> printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
> Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.
> True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
> Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
> documentation. Boost your productivity! http://www.helpandmanual.com
> You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as connie -at- therightwordz -dot- com -dot-
> To unsubscribe send a blank email to
> techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> or visit http://lists.techwr-l.com/mailman/options/techwr-l/connie%40therightwordz.com
> To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
>http://www.techwr-l.com/ for more resources and info.
Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more. http://www.DocToHelp.com/TechwrlList
True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity! http://www.helpandmanual.com
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-