There is a growing buzz among the proletariat that meetings are a pointless waste of time and should be disposed of completely. Sorry but I have to politely completely disagree. I LOVE meetings. Not even kidding. They can actually be really productive. It’s so much easier to talk something over in person than over email or even the phone. I’d rather be able to read someone’s facial expression when they say something than sit at my desk for 15 minutes agonizing over whether “Thanks for the follow-up!” sounds sarcastic or not. Plus it’s just kinda fun to hang out and shit idk.
However, there are some of you out there that are ruining meetings for everyone and I’m not going to stand for it any more. God gives every man a destiny and I believe I have found mine: Make Meetings Great Again. This is what I was put on Earth to do and may you all weep for the man who stands in my way.
Below are my 10 Commandments on Meeting Etiquette that you have to follow or I’ll personally come to your house and beat you with a tire iron.
****Heavy disclaimer**** I am guilty of every single one of the things I’ll be complaining about. Sorry but this post is for me just as much as it is for you. It’s called personal growth and accountability. Look it up.
The 10 Commandments of Meeting Etiquette
First Commandment: Show Up on Time or Don’t Bother Coming
Woah hard stance Content King! You’re right. People are busy. But there needs to be a line somewhere. Being on time is a very important character trait young man. It’s double important if you’re a boss or an important person at a meeting. Sure we can start without you, but it’s not as productive and no one cares as much when the people who matter aren’t there. And please don’t walk in right during the middle and ask someone to catch you up. It’s disruptive af.
There are 2 things to do when people are running late to a meeting
1) After 5-10 minutes, send an email to the group along the lines of “Hello, we are at the room/on the conference line. Are we still having this meeting?” Passive aggressive but you gotta play the game.
2) Same rules as school; if the teacher (or meeting lead) is 15 minutes late, class is automatically cancelled. Not sure if this was a real rule but everyone seemed to know about it.
Second Commandment: Don’t Ghost
If you accept the meeting and then don’t show up, we’re not friends. We had to pull in extra chairs because we thought you were coming and now we’re waiting for you to start the meeting. If you’re not going to show up, just decline it dawg. Don’t lead us on :/
Third Commandment: Close the Laptop
We get it. You’re an amazing employee and “have so much work ugh it’s totally stressful.” But if you’re going to do work throughout the meeting, why are you here? I can’t have you tapping away on your keyboard while I’m trying to listen. And frankly, it’s not polite to the presenter. Were you raised in a barn? If you want to bring your laptop in case you need to show a file or something, that’s fine. Just keep it closed pal.
PS- please don’t act like you’re “taking notes.” Everyone knows you’re on ESPN.com or online shopping. Bring a notebook and pen like an adult.
Fourth Commandment: Phone Stays at the Desk
Again, we get it. You’re a hotshot and need to be texting and emailing other hotshots non-stop. But looking at your phone is just so blatantly rude. Plus, you’re fooling no one- we can all see your thumb scrolling. You’re clearly on Facebook.
If you’re going to bring your phone, don’t you dare put it on the table face up. I don’t need to see a text from your wife flash across the screen, asking you to pick up the kids after school. That just makes me think about my future and gives me anxiety. Turn the phone face down, or better yet, put it in the ol’ pocket. And silence your goddam vibrations. I can’t be hearing those little buzzes every time you get an email, text or meeting notification. I am a mentally weak man and it will break my concentration immediately.
Fifth Commandment: Don’t Talk Just To Talk
If I hear someone say “building on Michelle’s comment” or “piggy-backing off of Jason” one more time, I’m going to run off the roof of my office into the sweet abyss. Can we please stop repeating what someone has just said but in slightly different words? I don’t care that you “had the same thought as Ryan that we should leverage our learnings from Q4.” We all did. Q4 for great for us. Let’s do that every quarter. But Ryan said it first so we’re moving on. I’m sorry you were asleep at the wheel and didn’t speak up earlier and will probably never get promoted. Not our problem.
Sixth Commandment: Speak Up
On the flip side, it’s important to open your fucking mouth in a meeting. It’s uncomfy when a meeting ends and someone says “Any questions?” and there’s crickets. Contribute please. You’re invited for a reason. Don’t sit there slack-jawed and day dreaming. ENGAGE.
(Yes this is the opposite of the last point but please remember that life is full of nuances and these commandments are guidelines and not hard and fast rules.)
Seventh Commandment: Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail
Act like you give a shit and don’t talk completely out of your ass.
- If you don’t have an agenda, my brain completely shuts down. Plus, this will help prevent people from interrupting the meeting and completely derailing the conversation. Yes Melissa, if you remember from the agenda, reporting and optimizations will be covered later on. Just hold tight sweetie 🙂
- Bro we sent the deck out last night. Stop asking questions that are going to be answered on slide 14 lmao.
- Also, why is it called a deck? First time I heard that I was all like yo are we having a BBQ on someone’s back porch or what? Am I right fellas?
- 2018 technology is weird. We can put a man on Mars (it’s true don’t listen to the government) but projecting a PowerPoint in a conference room takes an entire IT team. Technical difficulties can completely derail the start of a meeting. You have to make awkward small-talk while the presenter tries to set up a video conference and plug into the right HDMI and you can tell he’s doing it wrong but it’s his meeting so you don’t want to like show him up ya know but it’s been 7 minutes so like let’s get a move on JASON. Just get there a little early and figure it out.
Eighth Commandment: Keep the Peace
People arguing or fighting for power in a meeting is awkward as fuck and unprofessional. It’s like when you’re in the car with your friend on the way to a sick teen hangout and they decide to get in a screaming match with their mom while you’re in the back-seat. Don’t do that in front of me! Take your power struggle bullshit offline. I can watch House of Cards in the comfort of my own home. Even though Kevin Spacey is a monster and the acting and completely fell off last season, it’s still a good show.
Ninth Commandment: Don’t Linger
Biggest pet peeve is when a meeting ends a little early and people linger in the conference room, sending emails or chit-chatting. What the hell are we doing folks? We got 13 minutes back in our day! Let’s not spend in Conference Room 14! I gotta run back to my desk and see if anyone texted me (they didn’t) because I followed the fourth commandment like a good boy.
Tenth Commandment: What’s Next
Here’s where you bring it home. No matter how great a meeting is, I will completely forget everything we talked about 12 hours afterward. Sorry but I gotta keep some space in the brain for early 2000s Jets trivia and my banking passwords (I should really write these down.) Send a goddam follow-up email with next steps. Assign people to those next steps. Set up a follow-up meeting. It’ll probably get rescheduled 3 times and then cancelled but hey you tried.
The Golden Rule: Make it Worth Our Time
Self explanatory. Get in, get out. Don’t be rude. Make sure something comes of this 30 – 90 minutes of our life. Then and ONLY then, will meetings be great again.
Oh and also don’t eat snacks. Especially some smelly ass shit. One time some dude was straight up eating tuna with crackers in a meeting. That’s gross man. Fish are friends, not food.