Open the Box 2–The Golden Table

Golden table 2

Image by Underpuppy via Flickr

So I Opened the Box today and found a golden table.

So I thought about what this actually might refer to and I came up with: meetings.

Seriously. Meetings…

When was the last time one of those landed in your inbox and made you respond, “Hot diggety, a meeting!” as you snapped your hand to the Accept button?

…I thought so.  Me neither.  So I had to think about it some more.

A golden table speaks to me of value (or maybe heavy lifting…).  So when those lovingly-crafted, well-planned, high-value meeting requests arrive, I need to start thinking not about what their value is (they haven’t happened yet, so that would be zero at this point, anyway…), but what I bring to the meeting and help that group actually reach its goal of accomplishing something.

What can you do, especially since it isn’t your meeting?

  • Prepare: make sure you’re up on the background and purpose of the meeting.  Some meetings are easier to do this for than others, since they may or may not have sent an agenda or links to documentation.  Don’t be afraid to ask for some clarification. Asking may help the meeting planner help the other attendees as a result. More info up front is nearly always a good thing.
  • Turn off the &)($@! phone: Unless you really DO have a life-and-death scenario that you need to be available for (spouse/partner is in the hospital on life support, for example), leave it on vibrate or turn it off.  A call from the car dealer about your car having completed its oil change does not qualify.
  • Consider leaving the laptop outside: Unless you honestly (now, be honest…..) use the thing to take notes, leave it out or off.  I’ve seen way too many games of Solitaire, Bejeweled, and/or shopping on Amazon during a decision-making discussion.  You’re smart. You’re there. Listen and contribute. (Full disclosure – I take mine about a third of the time.  I take a small spiral notebook the rest of the time, and when I do that, I find myself paying closer attention…..just sayin’)
  • Listen, pay attention, ask questions: That’s what you’re there for.  If they really just wanted bodies to fill space, they wouldn’t pay you so much.
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One thought on “Open the Box 2–The Golden Table

  1. Good post Jeff. As you know I have also just written about meetings at http://www.developingleadersonline.com/2011/06/22/pointless-meeting/
    and I believe the two articles complement each other well. I particularly like your emphasis on being present in the meeting. If you go into a meeting telling yourself it will be a boring waste of time, its likely to meet your expectations. If you go in, without distractions, ready to listen, pay attention and ask questions you are much more likely to get value and give value.

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