Lunch Meet

We know them as meetings - those get-togethers in which we assemble or conference for some meaningful purpose. Although, it is not always clear what that purpose is. There many types of meetings, ranging from: informal to formal, structured to free form, large group meetings to one-on-one meetings, short meetings to long meetings. Some meetings are designed to distribute information. In these meetings, one or two people present information to a larger audience. Other meetings are of the status-gathering variety. In these meetings, one person typically collects status from the many other participants. Still, another type of meeting is the working meeting. In these meetings, participants are expected to discuss and work through some task.

The problem with all these meetings is, well, just that…ALL these meetings.

Many meetings are not one-time events but are instead so-called repeating meetings. These start out as a useful meeting. The decision is made to have another get together at same time next week. Before long this meeting becomes an every week event. The calendar is cluttered with repeating meetings that have long outlived their usefulness. The vestigial slot on the calendar becomes a repeating meeting of another type, in that it covers the same material over and over. You begin to feel like Phil Connors in Groundhog Day.
The most coveted times for meetings are all taken up by these repeating meetings. So any new or important meeting must be fit in around those times.
Urgent status meetings are called at the end of the day in order to report upward to the executive
“we don’t micro-manage “ team that somehow feels the need to understand the minutia of the day's events. This meeting is often called a “stand-up” meeting or a “standing” meeting. At this meeting no chairs are used. The goal of this meeting is to be quick (no need to sit), collect status and adjourn. Unfortunately, the standing meeting morphs over time from standing to sitting. The meeting becomes a standing meeting only in the sense that it is a standing meeting on the calendar. Now the end of the day is full.
Meetings spawn other meetings. More often than not, action items from a meeting include setting up other meetings. These are generally of the “Lets take this off-line” or the “Let’s meet first thing in the morning” variety.

You know that the meeting schedule is saturated when the only available time left for meetings is through the lunch hour. Sometimes food is brought in (participants are supposed to feel indebted for this gesture, although I believe it is required as part of the Geneva Convention). It is a joy to try to conduct business while consuming sustenance. Nothing like presenting between bites, making sure to wipe the mayo off your mouth.
“Having meat for lunch” no longer has anything to do with your deli selection, but everything to do with cheesy power point slides.
“I’ll have the turkey and swiss on rye please….”