Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is It the Meetings, or Is It Just Me?

I spent most of the day Saturday at a meeting. I love being involved in this volunteer organization, but my first visit to a biannual planning meeting proved challenging. I told C.S. it wasn't really all that bad, except for the parts where I wanted to (pardon the expression) stab out my own eyes.

There were the people who were unable to stick to the subject.

There were the people who used every speaking opportunity as a chance for blatant self-promotion.

There were the people who loved to hear themselves talk, complete with digressions, personal stories, and comments directed only to their friends.

There were the people who opposed every attempt to schedule the rest of the year's activities on the grounds that while the date might be perfect for the other 499 people in the organization, it wasn't an acceptable date because they had a conflict that day.

There were the people who had an ax to grind over some event in the distant past and wanted to get even by voting against the person they blamed.

For over an hour, one person read from an outline, in tremendous detail, information that only applied to about 5 people. She then handed out copies of the outline to those 5 people!

The treasurer handed out a 10-page financial report in 8 point font and then spent her speaking time telling us that most of the numbers weren't accurate.

As the afternoon wore on, many people engaged in side conversations of sufficient duration and volume that the chair of the meeting was required to restore order by banging on the table with a rolling pin (apparently brought specifically for that purpose).

Fortunately, before either suicide or homicide occurred, the meeting came to an end and my friends and I dashed off to the tack store to do some serious browsing. Then we had a delicious dinner and a lively post-meeting rehash. I'm sure you can imagine how much fun that was!

But I am left wondering. The subject matter was different, but this meeting was a lot like most other meetings I've attended. Is this just the way meetings go? Am I expecting too much? Or am I just not suited to sitting through meetings?

3 comments:

  1. It's the meetings. Meetings are awful and rarely help, but still somehow everyone seems hell-bent on having them all the time. The key seems to be to have an effective head-of-meeting and a lot of very cooperative, efficient meeting attendees, which rarely happens. Ugh. Meetings. Hate 'em.

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  2. OK...so I love meetings. And I currently chair board meetings for our local seniors association (volunteers. But your description of your meeting brought a smile - and a grimace. I think that all meetings have the exact elements you've experienced. I don't have a rolling pin but I do try very hard not to allow those things to happen. Not always successful - but I try. You're welcome at one of my meetings any time.

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  3. To be fair, I must say I've been to a few meetings that were very well-run and satisfying. Perhaps I'm due for another one of those soon.

    Keeping the egos in check is a major component, I think.

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