There aren't many, with the possible exception of MeetingBoy on Twitter, less amenable to the typical corporate meeting than I am. I can count on one hand the number of staff meetings across seven jobs that could not have been replaced with a single screen of email. Mind you, I'm not talking about the two- and three-day meetings where we crank through an agenda to produce some manner of job analysis or passing standard study. No. I'm talking about staff getting together to do what often would have been better accomplished over drinks after work or during lunch. If not beside the water cooler.
So yesterday, we gathered for a staff meeting. I had already reviewed the agenda, which could easily be handled in a single short email, if not a scroll on a flaming arrow, and I sent the meeting organizer a challenge to prove me a liar: See to it that the meeting really did terminate in 30 minutes.
We started four minutes late. The second speaker took 13 minutes. It's not looking good for the home team. The facilitator picked up the pace by telling people how long they had to speak. “Can you tell us in 1 minute...” We adjourned at four minutes past the deadline.
I claimed the victory because I don't want him to get a big(ger) head, but he did good and met the spirit of my challenge. We'll see if he can make a habit of it.