It is difficult to think of an office activity that is more worthless than your typical, run-of-the-mill 30-60 minute meeting. It would take an entire auditing team from PwC to calculate the amount of hours I have wasted sitting in meetings during my 12 years in the corporate world. And let’s not even get started on the financial costs to my employers for paying my coworkers and I to sit through these pointless charades.
I remember one former coworker―an absolute meeting-scheduling beast―who could not be stopped like an avalanche rumbling down the mountain. He was as relentless as he was clueless and would schedule a meeting at the drop of a hat based on the slightest provocation.
People like him need to be reined in early and often since some of this behavior can be attributed to simply wanting to look important, but also to establish dominance over you. Nothing frustrates and perplexes someone who is a chronic meeting scheduler than when you take the initiative and go over his head to set up an unproductive meeting yourself. This will leave him scratching his head, and simultaneously kicking himself, as he realizes that you have schooled him at his own game.
Rarely does so little get accomplished at so much opportunity cost than when a dozen people get together in a conference room. There will inevitably be a few corporate warriors who will try to hog the spotlight and outdo one another showing off their unoriginal ideas peppered with the most hackneyed business jargon imaginable.
The aim of corporate meetings is partly to give gullible subordinates the illusion that their ideas and views matter in the grand scheme of things. From my extensive corporate experience suffering through these dull, useless meetings, whoever holds the highest rank in the room will ultimately get his way.
My advice is to avoid attending meetings whenever a reasonable excuse presents itself. Schedule that dentist appointment during your quarterly business unit assembly. Get your car’s brake fluid changed the same afternoon as your monthly departmental gathering. Attend your son’s baseball game instead of that painful, drawn-out weekly team meeting. Believe me, it is unlikely that you will be missed unless you are big-talking schmoozer or a strict corporate yes-man.
If you must attend, then opt for dialing in and be sure to let the organizer know that you are on the line to get credit for “attending.” Then proceed to mute the line and get back to creating value for those shareholders that you are there to serve, you ungrateful serf. That, or cruise over to Seriology for some mildly helpful career advice and the occasional humorous post.
If you are using Microsoft Outlook, always remember to reply to meeting requests by choosing the option to send a message to let the organizer know that you have accepted or declined his meeting request. This serves to clog up the meeting organizer’s inbox, which may incentivize this persistent perpetrator to think twice before adding every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the department to his precious meeting.
If you must attend a meeting and you prefer to come across as the indispensable corporate go-getter lackey, it is well worth remembering Corporate Bro‘s advice below.
- Always convert fractions to percentages.
- When someone says something smart, always rephrase it.
- In this day and age, the only thing that matters is scalability.
- The ultimate goal is to look important, so make sure that you take a call in the middle of the meeting.
If you need a template for how an all-star LinkedIn profile should read, then head over to Corporate Bro’s profile to learn how to make recruiters salivate at your mediocre background. As we have all learned by now in business, presentation is often more important than substance. All that glitters isn’t gold.