Top 5 – Ways to Handle a Boring Meeting

Top 5 – Ways to Handle a Boring Meeting

I’m writing a little series on Top 5s. I’ll write my top 5s on various topics and I encourage you to write yours.

Meetings can be super boring. Thus we need survival mechanisms. Here’s my top 5 survival mechanisms.

1 – Blackberry messenger – most Govies are still on blackberries. Many have BBerry messenger which is a IM thing. Make sure to be messenging someone in the same room about how lame the
speaker is.

2 – Count something – Does the team lead use a certain buzzword? Say umm a lot? Let’s count them. You can compare the count with colleagues plus you have a historical record so you get excited for
the next meeting to see

3 – First in/Last out – The key to talking at a boring meeting. Make a cool comment at the beginning and the end and coast through it. Its like the intro and conclusion of a book – you get 90% of

4 – Sit at the table – When you sit away from the table, people assume you are goofing off. Sitting at the table is a bold move and people assume you have to be paying attention.

5 – Create your own buzzword – Find a buzzword that makes you and your colleagues secretly laugh but sounds cool. Use it a lot to keep yourself entertained. Perhaps “synergy” “synergestic” “symbiotic”

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Dick Davies

In The Department of Mad Scientists about DARPA, the advice when in the wrong meeting is, “Keep your head down and color.”

Amanda Blount

LOL – So sleeping would be too much huh? 🙂

I like counting something. After the meeting you have to take a shot of your favorite spirit for everytime you heard the word. (Hey I am Army, we like drinking games).

I learned to text without looking during one long meeting 2 years ago. It was a serious challenge, but now I am an expert texter! LOL

Sam Allgood

1. Catch up on reading GovLoop blogs and discussions.
2. Watch for people nodding off and text them a link to a related GovLoop discussion.
3. Interrupt the speaker with comments like ‘I just saw a great blog on GovLoop about that.’
4. Use your Blackberry to video record the meeting (or take pictures of people not paying attention)

Alberto Cottica

We challenge each other to use an unrelated word in the meeting. “Pheasant”, for example, gave us endless merriment.

Andrew Larrimore

How about requiring everyone to stand at a meeting (no chairs) you’d be surprised how fast the long meetings will come to an end.

Robin Johnson

“most Govies are still on blackberries”

Still on blackberries? I have yet to be on a blackberry. That would certainly help in boring meetings. I just let my mind wander and/or look out the window.

But then again, I share a name with a Blackberry Admin in the HQ of my agency, so I get to hear a lot about the people who are important enough to have them. 😉

Ann Mosher

Feeling grateful–and proud, because running a good meeting requires planning and commitment– that 95 percent of the meetings I go to are both relevant and efficiently run. Those other 5 percent offer a rare opportunity to actually sit and think big. I often get ideas that apply to comms plans for unrelated projects during lengthy, navel-gazing meetings.

Or it might be time to think small. Being an avid notetaker as a matter course offers cover; people can’t tell whether I’m crafting a haiku, planning meals for the week ahead, scheduling weekend errands, or writing my to do list for the rest of the day. That kind of thinking time is increasingly rare!

Kristin Ellis

#2 kept me sane for a number of years with a supervisor who particularly liked quotes from the Founding Fathers. (Its amazing how many you can insert into even the shortest of timeframes.)

Daniel G Garcia

Since I have about 16 projects going on simultaneously, I make a list and as the speaker talks, I jot down my ideas on each of the projects as I think of them. In essence, it appears I am taking diligent notes when in fact, I am must advancing on my own projects while “listening” to the speaker at hand. At times, I realize, what was said could have been said in less time and with a text. Otherwise, appear tuned in. With text, I send to myself ideas on my projects. I trust that when I meet with folks, i make their meeting interesting and engaging so that they won’t have to resort these subtle tactics.

Ed Albetski

Having been a committee chair, I look at this from the other side of the table. I always toss a couple of bags of candy on the center of the table. Tootsie Rolls are good. Folks can’t fall asleep eating them.

Stephen R. Gallison

I created “BuzzWord Bingo” played very much like bingo only the blocks have trite words and phrases used in government. Another version is “BSBingo” and we use the names of the participants and each time we catch them BSing they receive a tic mark. Prizes are awarded and in some meetings the word Bingo is shouted out and the time recorded, most of the “marks” aren’t away of the sport.

Another game is called “SuckUp Talley” where you record suck up statments. Keep the names of the participants and any statement made that is a vain attempt to curry favor is recorded next the attendees name.

Or how about counting the “Umm, er, ah verbal pauses” almost all of our leaders have had to attend programs on public speaking or should have. One bureaucrat ripped off more than 126 umm, er ahs in a single 20 minute portion of their agenda – talk about speaking from your gut – this person had gas.

Have fun – but don’t be one!

Thad Juszczak

My pastor stopped me one Sunday after Mass and commented that, although I sat directly in front of the pulpit, I seemed to be nodding off during his sermons. “Think of it as instant feedback, Father” I responded. Sometimes the leader of a boring meeting also needs some feedback.

Avatar photo Bill Brantley

I make notes on a novel that I am thinking of writing. It looks like I am diligently paying attention while I am actually completing a personal project. Just be careful if someone asks you read back your notes.