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Meetings from hell

Meetings from hell

Sixty bad habits we’ve all come across at company meetings

Translated by Allen Montrasio – John Peter Sloan – La Scuola

Company meetings are one of the most important and least loved rituals. As with any self-respecting ritual, there is a Grand Master calling them and an (often demotivated) team of participating Colleagues. What should be a strategic moment of alignments, often becomes unproductive, possibly because it is not well organised, but more often because of the attitude of the people taking part. The following is a list of “those who” (ourselves included, possibly) end up making meetings less effective than is desirable.

  1. Those who let you know at the last minute whether they’ll come or not
  2. Those who say they’ll attend but don’t show up and don’t even warn you
  3. Those who have received all the literature but haven’t read it
  4. Those who send in one of their team who doesn’t know anything at the last moment
  5. Those who reply to e-mails during a colleague’s presentation
  6. Those who have an opinion on everything
  7. Those who are constantly on WhatsApp and say it’s about an urgent matter. But they have an urgent matter at every meeting
  8. Those who use an acronym every three words
  9. Those who make their presentation in English using Google Translator to translate from Italian
  10. Those who prepare their presentation during the meeting, relying on the fact that they are not the first speakers
  11. Those who leave the meeting half way through because they have another one three floors up.
  12. Those who “I have to go a minute because HE called me”
  13. Those who have to go to the bathroom and come back smelling of cigarette smoke
  14. Those who haven’t read the agenda
  15. Those who don’t prepare an agenda but expect everybody to be at the meeting, prepared
  16. Those who don’t take notes because “I’ll remember everything”
  17. Those who don’t take notes and forget everything
  18. Those who don’t want to reach a decision
  19. Those who are only in the meeting to take minutes, but not being conversant on the subject, don’t really get it
  20. Those who… “why did you call a meeting on Monday morning?”
  21. Those who… “why did you call a meeting on Friday evening?”
  22. Those who call a meeting between 6.00 and 7.00 pm
  23. Those who demand punctuality but get to the meeting late
  24. Those who announce a revolution and only consulted themselves
  25. Those who… “it’s not clear, come next time”
  26. Those who eat like horses and come to the 2.00 pm meeting
  27. Those who are on a diet and break out a snack because they have to eat every two hours
  28. Those who are on WebEx and ask to repeat the last concept because the line was breaking up
  29. Those at the table who know there are colleagues on WebEx and still ignore the microphone
  30. Those who… “American English is incomprehensible”
  31. Those who have a 30 minute slot and take up 50
  32. Those who have to talk about the training plan after the Colleague from sales who still hasn’t made the budget plan
  33. Those who smell of their latest meal
  34. Those who in the first meeting after the holidays spend 10 minutes talking about the beach in Santorini
  35. Those who comment a presentation starting with “this may not be relevant, but…”
  36. Those who… “it’s hot, let’s keep it short”
  37. Those who… “what the hell are you doing, always having meetings. Get to work!”
  38. Those who don’t update their team on the decisions made after a meeting
  39. Those who after the meeting tell their team… “this was the decision, but I disagree”
  40. Those who weren’t there at the last meeting and didn’t read the minutes
  41. Those who come back from the break 10 minutes late
  42. Those who call you when you’re in a meeting. You’re like: “I’m in a meeting, I’ll call you back”. They’re like: “just a quick thing… do you remember about…”
  43. Those who haven’t silenced their smartphone. And those who’ve put it on vibration and shake all the table
  44. Those who use last year’s presentation template and have adapted last year’s presentation “that had gone down so well”
  45. Those who deliver the same presentation regardless of the audience
  46. Those who have the million dollar question and fire it off exactly when everyone has bought into your proposal
  47. The (Groucho) Marxists who are like: “whatever it is, I’m against”
  48. Those who – at the end of the agenda – have to present the history of the world in seven minutes
  49. Those who don’t take the time zone into account
  50. Those who bring a home-made cake to the meeting because they just graduated from a cookery course
  51. Those who… all the meeting rooms are booked. Let’s postpone the meeting
  52. Those who… sorry, I didn’t know this room was booked
  53. Those who… could you move to the other room, ‘cause there’s a lot of us and we need this one
  54. Those who… what do you mean, *you’re* here? So the booking system isn’t working
  55. Those who are so much more important than you that they can behave as they like in the meeting
  56. Those who have to urgently tell you a couple of things during the break, and your break becomes another meeting
  57. Those who have to go to the bathroom on an hourly basis, those who never go (how do they manage?)
  58. Those who dial into the meeting from home and let you hear their kitchen noises. Or, worse, bathroom noises. Bathworking
  59. Those who dial into WebExes with a telephone from the beach of from their kids’ school’s end to term party

Those who in the most dramatic moment of the meeting… their smartphone goes off and the ringtone is the tune of a TV show.

John Peter Sloan traduzione1

John Peter Sloan traduzione 2