Tips for Wasting Time
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Bad Meetings

30 Ways of Conducting a Bad Business Meeting

After analyzing the patterns of hundreds of meeting as a consultant, as a manager, as a normal participant, and as a boss I found these are the important points which you should take care of for a meeting.

  1. Invite everyone. You wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by not including them. However, be careful about inviting people who might try to accomplish something during the meeting. On the other hand, make sure you invite people who tell good jokes, like to goof around, and are generally entertaining.
  2. Don’t start the meeting until everyone has arrived. Starting a meeting on time would be rude to those who are late. Plus starting a meeting late helps everyone feel more comfortable about being late next time, which almost assures you will start the meeting late every time.
  3. Boss attend the meeting for any 5 min randomly. If you are a boss or a moderator or key decision-maker or tie-breaker then make sure that you attend a meeting just for 5 min randomly, inform the organizer to start the meeting, and carry on without me, I will join later.
  4. Never, never, never have an agenda. Agendas create structures that can stifle tangents.
  5. Leaders Should Talk More. Leaders should do most if not all of the talking. Since the leader knows best, it makes the most sense that he or she talks the most.
  6. Stupid ideas should be submitted for laughing. Ensure people can classify ideas as stupid and good. “Good” ideas can be taken seriously and anybody who submits a “stupid” idea should be laughed at, mocked, and generally spit upon. After all entertainment at the cost of humiliating others is the right of powerful people.
  7. Allow Multitasking. Give people the freedom to “multitask” during meetings. Let everyone know at the start of the meeting that if they need to do other things such as texting, reading email, or answering calls to go right ahead. It will make the meeting all the more productive for everyone.
  8. Never make assignments. Assignments mean work must be done.
  9. Don’t recap any past meetings, that way you can keep talking about the same things from meeting to meeting
  10. Never end a meeting on time.
  11. Identify a way to shut up all people. Ask people for their opinions and then tell them what you were going to do anyway, that’s a really great way to shut everybody up.
  12. Never commit to anything, that way no one can be held accountable
  13. Analyze the crap out of everything, that way you can avoid attempting implementation
  14. Have the meeting between 8 AM and 5 PM
  15. Provide comfortable seating, so that people do not feel uneasy even after one hour.
  16. Provide drinks, snacks, or a catered meal, so that people can feel they are sitting at the dining table.
  17. Hand out potato chips in small sealed bags.
  18. Include consultants or coaches.
  19. No RSVP required. Even after not confirming the join for meeting let them join.
  20. Make it Routine. Make it daily or weekly or otherwise make it an institution.
  21. Do not put a deadline on task. Avoid assignments and anything specific with the date requirements attached.
  22. Ensure people feel that they have enough time to talk. So that they need NOT prepare in advance and can speak more than their allocated time.
  23. MoM is waste of time. For god’s sake never keep a record or minutes.
  24. Make sure attendance is mandatory.
  25. Encourage the circular argument.
  26. Confuse and discourage people. Stand up and say you have one question for the group. The question is why are we making products or providing services that nobody wants at a price no one is willing to pay. You will never be asked back. Guaranteed.
  27. Important people can keep their phones on. Be sure that everyone has their Cellphone/blackberry on so the team knows who is important.
  28. Encourage phone ring tone is melodious. Don’t ask anyone to silence their PDAs or cell phones, so when they ring or alert that there is a message or call they can answer it while in the meeting.
  29. Ensure everyone has access to the charging point. Scatter extension cords around so people can plug in laptops
  30. Do not summarise but read the whole text in the meeting. If you are leading the meeting, read your mail to the group, good chance half the information won’t apply and people love having you read your mail in front of them

If you know some other techniques then feel free to add in the comment box.

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