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Worked till 1:30am trying to get stuff finished for Meeting of Doom today.
Brythen woke up at 6am, 6:30, 7:05, 7:20 demanding to go out because he has an upset tummy.  Had to wash various beds, rugs etc. Eventually at 8am Brythen decides that if he hides in one of the downstairs dogbeds he will not feel sick.   Nausea related to altitude or something he claims.  Flop back into bed, sleep till 9am, drag self out to walk hounds.

11am Meeting of Doom.  To my amazement, since car windows needed defrosting and roads were solid fog, I arrive on time! Possibly mechanic has installed some sort of Tardis circuit in Helga Saab when car was serviced yesterday.  I am the only person there.

There aren't even any hotel staff in evidence anywhere I look.  I wander hopefully around the bar, calling 'HELLO!'  but no-one answers.  I am the only person in a Marie Celeste hotel.   I consider shouting 'I SAY!!!' like Harriet Vane trying to locate a 1930's telephone, but decide that it would be too embarrassing to be caught at it if there is in fact someone in this hotel after all.

There are Custard Creams laid out in the meeting room though, so I take this as a hopeful sign, and sit eating Custard Creams and reading the notes that I'd intended to read this morning but hadn't.  Eventually the meetees, all of them operating on a particularly dilatory form of Cornish Dreckly Time,  come draggling in.  A hotel employee is sighted drifting past, provoking a discussion on whether she is a current member of staff, or a ghost.  Eventually, she turns out to be alive, and brings appalling coffee, and the news that the dataprojector is safely locked in the Special Cupboard, and the owner of the key to the Special Cupboard has gone off somewhere, and will return dreckly.  Sigh.   We resolve to do without a dataprojector.

 Everyone has much much to say, much of it contradictory.  Quite often, three people are giving me their considered opinion simultaneously,  I attempt to make notes, and wish I had more hands so I could note down multiple conversations at once.  Meeting drags on until 3:30pm!  I know many people have meetings that long all the time, but I am not one of them.  In my world, I consider one hour to be an elegant sufficiency of meeting. More than 2 hours is a long meeting.   Four and a half hours is not a meeting.  It is a form of group insanity.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
22nd Jan, 2015 19:59 (UTC)
Um *beer*?
23rd Jan, 2015 09:05 (UTC)
Foolishly, I opened a bottle of strawberry cider that someone gave me for Christmas. It was absolutely the single most revolting brew ever. I gave up after three sips and poured it down the sink.
22nd Jan, 2015 20:18 (UTC)
I am very much in agreement with your views on the appropriate length of meetings!

Hope both you and Brythen have a more restful night tonight
23rd Jan, 2015 09:06 (UTC)
The brindly-monster seems to be feeling better, thank you - or at least, he slept through the night!
22nd Jan, 2015 20:56 (UTC)
Was somebody actually chairing this meeting?

Because that sounds more like a group in a room chatting than anything else, and I say that as someone who's attended plenty of fairly casual committee meetings.

Anyway, I second wellinghall's offer of beer, and I hope you don't have to do it again for a while.
23rd Jan, 2015 09:18 (UTC)
The meeting had both a chair AND a vice-chair!

Sometimes they remembered they were chairing and tried to get people into a queue, but sometimes they just said the first thing that popped into their heads like everyone else.

It was very much like a group in a room chatting, but as the paid supplier it's my job to make everyone feel their contribution is being accepted and valued: I have to be careful about telling them how to make it.
23rd Jan, 2015 11:15 (UTC)
Chairing meetings well is an underrated skill I feel. I hadn't thought about how much I've picked up about it at work until I attended my first proper local Green Party meeting last week and spent the entire evening wanting to strangle our co-convenor for being utterly useless at it!
23rd Jan, 2015 19:53 (UTC)
I need a "dearie, dearie me" icon...

I must confess I suspect what talent I had for minuting and chairing meetings came mainly from not having much in the way of opinions, and therefore not needing to stop running the meeting to express them. :-)
23rd Jan, 2015 05:27 (UTC)
Yes I agree... chairperson should have shut that down straight away.
Next time, suggest that you fake a hand cramp after 2 hours and ask for a break of 10 mins to massage the feeling back into your hand.
I also find that asking people for spelling or clarification works well to stop the crazy meeting spiral.
"Sorry, wait. Hold onto your thoughts... This thing with the horses in August - I've gotten the notes about chasing the daffodils, but I missed who was going to be responsible for that?"
23rd Jan, 2015 09:24 (UTC)
Yes, I used that tactic, but it was still a bit like trying to wrestle with bees!
23rd Jan, 2015 19:00 (UTC)
Definitely with you on the meeting lengths, some people seem to think the longer the meeting the more important it must be and therefore, that they must be. Short and to the point is what I favour. Poor Bacchus had an 11 hour meeting recently. True it came with lunch and dinner breaks but no one can concentrate for that long and still be productive over that length of time! I think the idea was to 'get it all over with in one day', not his idea I hasten to add!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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