Halt! Stop the Meeting Invitations!

bank-bankbook-banking-1020313Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Has anyone ever asked to schedule a meeting for a meeting of the meeting for that meeting…

Sorry, I had to do that. But think about it. How many meetings have you attended lately? How many meetings have you attended lately within a day? How many of these meetings were concluded with a goal? How many hours have gone by without you completing a single task for that day?

Are meetings really all that necessary?

I’ve been working for five years now and I rarely attend meetings unless it’s necessary for me to do so. For one, I wasn’t senior enough to join one and two, the companies I worked with hardly required me to attend. What few meetings I did attend were only because they needed someone to take minutes or it was for an update of a campaign launched, a product rebranded or website update. But I do know people who were dragged into multiple meetings per day and they took forever. Almost all day, some would say.

Are meetings productive or a waste of time?

I think it depends wholly on what you are scheduling a meeting for. What do you want to discuss in your meeting? Is it about the complaints your customer service department has been receiving lately? Are you planning on launching a company-wide change that may impact both your internal and external customers? Or you just want to talk about the behaviours of your staff but have no idea how to go about it and you think it’d be a good idea to rope in all the senior managers in every department to ask for their input?

Personally, I think meetings are a waste of time. But maybe, it depends on what your meeting is about. Sometimes, the word meeting has been so carelessly used that people end up misinterpreting the actual definition of it. Imagine someone saying they want to have a meeting for lunch ideas. I mean, you could always call for a quick discussion, and get it done and over with.

If you had a meeting, what could you possibly get done?

Scheduling a meeting could potentially save you on the time spent making decisions. A product or campaign launch would include your team or department staff, along with a few executives or senior managers involved in the launch. From there, you could easily get a few suggestions and/or options on what should be done and how to do the launch.

But this is if you have at most a meeting or two per week. That’s a rough calculation on my part. A new launch of anything could drain your hours and limit your time spent on other equally important tasks if you have multiple meetings a day, possibly reaching up to five to seven meetings a week! Do you really need that many meetings on one launch?

If you didn’t have a meeting, what could you possibly get done?

At the same time, though, having too many meetings can take up too much time. Precious time that could be spent completing tasks that matter more. As mentioned above, equally important tasks could be left unfinished if you had to attend meetings all day.

A few of my colleagues in my office now are attending at least three meetings a day. Each meeting takes up roughly one to two hours. By the time they’re done, it’ll be time for them to pack up and leave for the day. Some bring work to finish at home while others stay back late in office to finish up. That’s not exactly what we had in mind for a work-life balance.

An article titled Stop the Meeting Madness by Harvard Business Review details the pros and cons of meetings. A paragraph in the article clearly states the reason why meetings are a waste of time, and frankly speaking, I have to agree with them.

For one thing, time is zero-sum. Every minute spent in a wasteful meeting eats into time for solo work that’s equally essential for creativity and efficiency. For another, schedules riddled with meetings interrupt “deep work”—a term that the Georgetown computer science professor Cal Newport uses to describe the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.

What about you? Do you think meetings are a waste of time?

Advertisements

“What’s In a Name?” to Quote Shakespeare.

sign-pin-badge-name

Shakespeare wasn’t the only one with the question when he added it to his play, Romeo and Juliet. The quotes from the play pertaining to the question, “The name of a thing does not matter as much as the quality of the thing,” and “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” were not the only lines by Shakespeare.

So what’s in a name?

According to Shmoop:

We told you Juliet was smart. She’ll pretty much make herself believe anything if it means she and Romeo could be together. But she does have a point. The names that we call things are just randomly assigned by, well, us. 

But just because people gave something a name many centuries ago doesn’t mean that it is what it is. So why can’t we call a dog, a book? Or a book a dog, for that matter?

Names are subjective, it’s open to interpretation and perspective, so we shouldn’t read into them so much. And Juliet is right. Names are random. There is no reason a horse should be called that, is there? But the problem with this kind of reasoning is that over time, the names do mean something.

Imagine if you told your friend, “Oh, look at how loud that book is barking!” (when you really mean a dog), then he or she will think you’ve lost your marbles. Or, “Look how many pages that dog has!” (when you really mean a book). How does that make you sound? Names might not mean anything at first, but over time, they take on the meaning. And then that meaning sticks.

And that’s just with objects. It gets a whole different ball game with people. A name given to someone is really important to that persons’s identity. What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone new for the first time? You introduce yourself and tell them your name. Assuming you’re doing the right way of ice-breaking. But that’s because it’s your name, that’s what you’re called and it’s who you are.

Now, you could tell people something about yourself before saying your name, but we all know that’s not what people expect when you’re doing the introductions. You could think of another scenario, say you’re meeting a new colleague at your new job and you said, “Hi, I’m a book reader,” and your new colleague said, “Hi, I’m a noodle lover.” As cool as that would be, it would be kind of weird. Get where we’re coming from?

So the answer to my question of “what’s in a name?” is that it is a lot more than what people really think it is.

Which probably got you wondering, what the heck is going on here? Why is the blogger going around in circles about names?

At the risk of sounding like a philosophical buffoon, the reason why I ended up with this topic today was because of a conversation I shared with my husband two nights ago. We were driving back from the clinic (I’m still having the anxiety attacks despite having already resigned from the job) and I turned to ask him, “Why did you pick the name Nigel?” Yes, that’s his name but he wasn’t christened with it. He gave himself that name because people couldn’t pronounce his Chinese name. I have that problem too but mine’s on a not-so-sticky level.

And so began our conversation on what’s in a name, why he picked that (apparently the name Nigel means ‘black’ in Celtic language, and my husband loves the colour black — he has a lot of black t-shirts in the wardrobe) and what were the other names that could have suited his style and surname. Of course, at the end of the day, the name is just a name. But it did give my husband an identity. It’s his name, it’s what he’s known as to his friends (not so much to his family and relatives, however), and it is who he is.

By the time we got home, we ended up with a list of our favourite names. Since we weren’t thinking of having kids anytime soon, we might just bestow these names on our cats (or future cats since we already have two called Loki and Thor but neither actually respond to their names when called).

Here are a few of our favourite names:

  • Joseph
  • Xander
  • Patrick
  • Lucas
  • Jeffrey

What about you? What is or are your favourite name(s)?