Laughing at Myself

Being new to this snazzy blog thing, I just realized that there is an area where my comments are moderated that “suspicious” comments are held for me to review.  I just had to share this one comment that was left on my “Grades: They Really Do Come Back to Bite You in the Butt” entry:

“This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. You’ve got a design here that’s not too flashy, but makes a statement as big as what you’re saying. Great job, indeed.”

I was super flattered at the nice comment and have to admit I was doing a dorky little dance inside. “Wow,” I thought, “Adding hashtags to my tweets must be attracting nice readers that I don’t even know to my little blog!”

And then I noticed the name of the commenter… Penis Enlargement.

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Do you want to meet to talk about our meeting, before the meeting, but then have a meeting after the meeting about the meeting?

Raise your hand if you hate meetings.

Okay, lower your hand and pretend that you’re not the nerd who just raised their hand while reading my blog and pretending to work. If I were going to make up some sort of scientific poll, I’d say that 98% of people hate meetings. In fact, if you google “I hate meetings” you get 22,800,00 results (in 0.17 seconds) on the subject. On a related note, one of the suggested searches that comes up when you enter “I hate meetings” is “Death Meetings”, which is just weird.

Most people hate meetings because many times nothing gets decided and you just end up scheduling another meeting to discuss the subject some more (hmm…maybe that’s where “death meetings” comes up, as in I’m going to actually die before something gets finalized in a meeting.)

In a recent frustrating example, I had a meeting scheduled with the proper decision makers but only one of them showed up on time. It took us about 10 minutes to track down the rest of the people, and then another 10 minutes was spent chatting about why they were late to the meeting. When we finally got to the point of the meeting (a time sensitive topic that needed to be finalized that day), they decided to call in a couple more people to ask their opinion.

Spoiler Alert: Nothing was decided at that meeting. At all. In fact, a list of additional questions was created to research before… you guessed it, scheduling another meeting to talk about it.

Are you slamming your head into your keyboard yet? Does this sound familiar?

As a marketing guru, I can honestly say that I’ve been involved in some of the most ridiculous meetings known to man. People not showing up, the office dog walking around with his ‘red rocket’ out, extremely offensive jokes, personal hygiene issues, porn popping up on the computer screen behind them — these are just some of things that people seem to think are acceptable.*

Here are some tricks that I’ve found really do help make your meetings go smoother:

Have an agenda and stick to it. Send the agenda out to the meeting attendees before the meeting so that everyone knows what to expect. If you have a decision that must be made, put that on the agenda.

Show up on time and encourage everyone else to do the same. Much like my pet peeve of people who rush through writing their emails, when you show up late to a meeting you’re letting everyone else know that you think your time is more important than theirs. Everyone in that room knows what you’re doing and just to let you know, we all think you’re an asshat.

If it is going to be a long meeting, assign someone the job of being the “dead horse beater”. Yes, it sounds gross and there is probably a better term for it, but this person’s job is super important. When the meeting just keeps going in circles without any decisions being made, this person speaks up when you’re beating the proverbial dead horse and guides the meeting back on track.

Make an action list and make sure that someone is in charge of each item on that list. It’s very easy to walk away from a meeting with a list of things that were discussed, and then throw it on your desk to have it buried within a couple hours and never thought of again. If you’re the person who called the meeting, make it a habit to create a quick list of tasks that came out of the meeting. Every single item on the list should have someone’s name next to it that’s in charge of completing that item. If there is a deadline involved, add that to the list so that everyone is clear on your expectations.

Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to say that the tips above will solve ALL your meeting dilemmas, it’s just not true.  If I added up the amount of time over the past decade that I’ve spent in unproductive meetings I’d probably cry at the days/weeks/months of my life that were wasted.

However, by having a confident attitude and a clear plan, your chances of running a productive meeting are greatly increased. Of course, you could kick it up a notch like this hilarious Careerbuilder commercial: 


*Yes, I realize that you’re now hoping that I write a blog post about the time that porn popped up on someone’s computer screen while I was meeting with them. If this is really of interest, leave me a comment and I’ll write it up. Also, to those people who know me in real life, this was NOT at my current job!  

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I Like My Coffee Sweet and My Gratification Immediate

I hate waiting. Hate, hate, hate it. I am NOT a patient person and I like my gratification immediate instead of delayed. Picture me stomping on the floor and flailing around my arms to get the real picture of how I feel about waiting. Yeah, I totally realize that you’re staring at your computer with a total lack of surprise on your face.

My point is I feel like even though our world has gotten so much faster with all of our technological advancements, some things just seem to go soooooo sloooooooow. Of course, it could just be that my expectations of how much time things should take have shrunk due to me being plugged in 24/7. Now when something takes what would have previously been a ‘normal’ amount of time, it feels like it takes forever.

Anyways, long story short – I still don’t know anything about whether that person is interested in my house. I spoke to my Real Estate Agent on Monday and was enthused/massively hyper/6 year old with a mouth full of icing ecstatic at the thought that a contract would be coming in this week. Maybe even THAT DAY! Of course, this is all in my head as nobody actually said that a contract would come in that quickly.

I haven’t heard anything. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. In an effort to contain my crazy, I have not called my agent because if something happens she will obviously call me. Of course, it is very possible that they said they weren’t interested after all or even that they’ll be holding off for a week because the person is out of town on business. Without communication though, I’m just left to sit here and imagine what might be going on.

That is my other point: people feel a lot more relaxed when there is communication.

Let’s say you order an expensive item off of ebay and an automated email tells you when it’s shipped out. Days and days and even a week go by without the item arriving at your door. At this point, you’re freaking out thinking that you’ve been scammed and you’re getting ready to leave the seller negative feedback. If the seller would have just sent you an email saying, “I delivered the item to UPS on Friday and it is expected to take 5 – 7 business days to arrive,” then you wouldn’t even worry.

How many of you have applied for a job in the last couple of years? You see the job description and think “Wow, I’m perfect for that position.” So, you work really hard on writing a great cover letter, tweaking your resume to better highlight the experience they’re looking for and email it to their HR department paying special attention to your subject line and spelling. Then you wait. And wait. And wait. You wonder if your email was lost in cyperspace or maybe just got accidently deleted. Your excitement about the position turns into negative thoughts about that stupid company that couldn’t even let you know it received your information. After a while, you totally forget that you applied for the position at all. Most likely you never hear from them. Or, you could be totally surprised (like my husband was) and receive a call a year later asking if you’re still interested.

Obviously in either of the above situations you could follow up and ask when your package will arrive or if they received your resume. But wouldn’t it be nice if people communicated a little better so that you didn’t have to follow up with everyone?

Think about your expectations and give other people the same considerations you’d like.

Oh yeah, and buy my house please.

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