I spend an interminable amount of time in meetings, both at work and with volunteer organizations. Interminable – really. While some work is done, for the most part they are a way to exchange information that could have been communicated as effectively by other means. Meetings with a focus, an agenda, a good facilitator, and people who are upbeat and engaging are great. They’re productive and you walk away feeling that you’ve accomplished something.
Then, there are the other meetings. Oh my, so many other meetings.The meetings we have because they are on the calendar even if we have nothing to discuss. The meetings where the facilitator should have an agenda because there is important work to be done but doesn’t. To compensate, or perhaps in an attempt to hoodwink the attendees, the facilitator goes into a confusing stream of consciousness diatribe as the rest of us look on with the expression of a confused miniature schnauzer trying to figure out why mommy is crying. The comments have a distinct lack of clarity, also known as “what the hell was that about?”.
I’m also a fan of meetings that end before the scheduled time. Business is done, agenda covered: done and done and on to the rest of your day. But just like in the mind numbing Intro to Economics class that ended at 5 pm on Friday freshman year, there is that guy/woman. Yes, the one who has to ask just one more question that seems to make absolutely no sense and has no relevance to the class, or well, anything. “We’re missing Happy Hour Dude – move along” (says the professor). Once again, a distinct lack of clarity.
And let’s not forget the glorious memo/email from the “mother ship”. That which holds our fates in its hands. There is mention of budgets and policies and positions and contracts and value added and transparency and choices and benefits and Fair Wages and Standards changes and…oh BINGO! (My friends who are familiar with meeting Bingo will appreciate that.) Amidst the numerous flowery paragraphs and academic speak, I actually have no f’ing clue what they said. And I’m a pretty smart cookie. A distinct lack of clarity.
I know we sometimes have to sugar coat things to make them more digestible but please, at some point, we just need to say what we need to say. Give me clarity or….give me a meeting. No, really, give me clarity.