Down with Meetings!

With a quick Google search you can find page long lists of blog posts dedicated to complaining about meetings.

I challenge you to find another blog post like this.

Why is this post unique?  Because I intend not to complain about meetings, but about the word meeting itself.

As of today, I’ve given up the word meeting.  I’m writing to ask all my friends to help me strike the word meeting from my vocabulary.

Why such a bold (and odd) move?  Because meeting is a word used beyond its usefulness.

How can I tell? Because one word, meeting, should not be commonly used to describe both of the scenarios below.

Scenario 1: A gathering of a group of excited “get to” team members eagerly working on a project they are passionate about.

Scenario 2: A forced encounter of disheartened workers confused as to the purpose of the current physical co-location, learning and doing nothing of importance.

After reading those scenarios, can you see the disservice we are doing to the powerful difference driving change brings?  Our gathering with other “get to” energized people gets the same word as a sad session of driving people.  No more!

Join me in boycotting the word meeting.

Here’s one way you can carry out this boycott.

When you send your electronic invitation, or make you in person request, describe your gathering in other words.

Examples:

  • We need to generate our next goals.  Would you like to come to the Improvement Improvisation Hour we’re holding at 2 on Tuesday?
  • I’m seeking volunteers to help me safe-fail test my idea to find the flaws. Would you be willing to attend my Devils Advocate Session at 8 on Wednesday?
  • We’ve accomplished a lot in the past two weeks.  Shall we hold a Wins Report from 10 to 11 on Friday in the small conference room?
  • It’s time for performance reviews.  My boss and I are taking Reflection and Projection Time on Thursday at 1.

I’m sure I could come up with plenty more.  The options are endless if we cease the mindlessness of calling everything a meeting and start describing why we are gathering people with the title we give the gathering.  These new titles are more enjoyable to read and they clearly tell me what sort of preparation or mindset I should be in when I finally get to join the other attendees.

Imagine the time saved if you knew exactly why you were there (on top of the wanting to be there energy that driving change brings!).  Can you tell this idea excites me?!

I’m so excited, I started to wonder what the non-meeting titles of current driving people sessions could be.  Here are a few examples, included just for fun:

  • I have to go to the Listen-to-Bill-Yell-At-Us event again on Wednesday.
  • I wish I didn’t have to attend John’s I-Insist-on-Reading-the-Status-Report-to-You-Instead-of-Just-E-Mailing-It gathering every Thursday.
  • Will your boss skip the No-One-Knows-Why-Any-of-Us-Are-Here session again on Friday?  I wish I could skip it.

Join me in boycotting the word meeting.

Don’t wait.

Be brave.

Start renaming your meetings today.

Why not try?

[Bonus: If you want to check out one of my earlier rants about language at work, read Why One Blue Crayon Isn’t Enough.]

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