Monday, June 18, 2007


Activities for Boring Meetings

Haven't we all had our fair share of boring meetings...

Here are some things you can do to keep yourself amused:

  • Psychedelicize the Meaning: Imagine they're talking about something bizarre or fun. They aren't talking about their "long-term business plan", they're talking about their plan to replace the nation's pets with robots. Or observe attendees' behavior for specific, credible evidence that they are actually robots, aliens, foreign intelligence agents, or escaped mental patients.

  • Try to make the speaker's head explode: Using just your force of will, try to make the speaker's head blow up. They think you're being attentive when you're actually thinking, "Come on, come on. Blow up already. Boom! Splat! Do it. Do it." If the meeting is bad enough, you may want to change strategy and try to make your own head explode. Alternatively, while they're talking you plot how you'll make their head explode when it's your turn to talk...

  • Make a Portrait of the Speaker: Simply draw a picture of whoever's leading the meeting in your notebook. They think that you're paying attention to them and taking notes of key points. In fact, you're looking at their face thinking "...the right eye is slightly above the left eye by the width of a nostril..."

  • Take control: If you have sufficient confidence or clout, and trust yourself to handle potential political/emotional repercussions involved in taking over someone else's meeting, then assume the role of moderator yourself and get things moving. Even if you don't fully take over, a few well-placed interruptions to ask "What's the next item on the agenda?" or "Can you two go over the details later?" can keep things moving along.

  • Indulge in erotic fantasies: Especially if the presenter or other attendees are attractive. Be careful not to stare directly at the object of your fantasy for too long. Males should avoid this activity if there is any chance that they will be asked to stand during the meeting.

  • Argue from Ignorance: Can be parallelized/team building as pooling our ignorance. The key of course is semi-obvious parody.

  • Get up and leave: You probably should be a steward of how companies spend their human capital and should put it to better use

  • Think about Tennis: Pretend your two hands are playing tennis, thumbs their arms, next two fingers feet. Paradoxically the left hand is right-handed and vice-versa. Better to do it under the table in very slow motion.

  • Learn to pay attention: Accept the fact that meetings will always cater to the lowest common denominator. Even in less information dense cultures, you can always learn something

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