I’ve read a lot of long lists of things you should do in meetings, but I rarely see a list of what not to do. And I figure I should see more of the “what not to do” lists considering that every time I go to a meeting, I see about ten different thing that irritate the living daylights out of me. So maybe if I write an article about what not to do in a meeting, people will stop doing those things.
At any rate, here are some of my biggest pet peeves:
Waltzing in late – Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice? I hate it when people come strolling in ten minutes. I got to the meeting on time, my co-workers got to the meeting on time, and clearly this tardy person doesn’t respect the fact that I have other things to do! Not only that, but if we started our discussion, we need to catch that person up!
Working on other stuff while you’re in the meeting – Hey, person who is shopping on line during the meeting, or checking the weather (seriously, that happened in one of my meetings just today), I’m talking to you. If you’re paying attention to your email or surfing the web during the meeting, you’re not paying attention to what we’re talking about. You ask questions about things we already covered, take up our time…I don’t like it when you’re not paying attention. When you’re in the meeting, work on paying attention in the meeting.
Heading down a rabbit hole – If we’re in a meeting about the production of widgets, another attendee shouldn’t jump in the minute he sees an opportunity to talk about the production of thingamajigs. We don’t want to talk about thingamajigs. Really. So be quiet!
Having an opinion you’re sharing but not respectfully – If you don’t agree with something I say, don’t roll your eyes or heave a sigh and fold your arms in protest. Say, “Revolutionary Assistant, I’m not sure I agree with you, can we discuss this further?” I like that better than when you act like a second grader.
Act like you’re superior to me in a way that makes me want to punch you – I read this article on LinkedIn by Gretchen Rubin that talked about all the ways people make themselves look bad in meetings. Most of it was what they said and how they said it. The one I enjoyed the most was, “I can see why you might think that.” That sentence is usually followed by a reason or two why you’re ignorant and short-sighted. Check out Gretchen’s list for more phrases to avoid, she hit the nail on the head!
Meetings are a pain in the butt as it is, but when you have all these shenanigans going on, they become unnecessarily aggravating. When you’re off to your next meeting, remember to behave yourself, and as a Revolutionary Assistant you can keep people in check so they behave themselves, too!
Next post: Wednesday, November 5