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Hearing Double. . And My Coworkers Did It On Purpose

June 5, 2015

There’s a truth about all jobs. You have meetings. You can’t stop them, you can only hope to contain them. My new company does meetings like no company I’ve ever seen, or heard actually. The meeting made me hear double.  

I’ve run hundreds, possibly thousands of meetings. There are serveral aspects of a successful meeting that you can preplan for. 

Have a Purpose

Some people will say you shouldn’t have reoccuring meetings, since you can be more effective if you only schedule a meeting for a specific objective. Those people get it almost right. A reoccuring meeting is fine, if it has a purpose. I have regular status meetings with my virtual teams. We go over objectives, resolve issues and plan future work. Sometimes the purpose is to check the status and then end. 

Keep Them Short

I rarely schedule an hour-long meeting. If we cannot resolve it, whatever “it” is, in 30 minutes or less, then we either need to learn more about the issue, or schedule two meetings. No one is paying attention in the second half. It is perfectly acceptable to have a brief call and then say, “Okay, no more questions? Good. See you next week.” I have one coworker who will say, “I’ll give you back 17 minuts of your day.” 

Make Sure You Can Hear

Bet you didn’t know this was even an issue, huh? It is in my company. I used to sit next to Matt and Craig. We were three of the four corners of a cube farm. 

I was new and I was scheduled to take over the project that they were working on. We needed to get together and go over the project plan. I started to get up

Rodney, where are you going?

We have our project meeting now, right?


Aren’t we going to meet in the conference room?


Ah. . . 

No, we did the conference call, and many more after that from our desks. This might be a good plan if we each had our own office, or at least were not within speaking distance of each other. I could literally reach out and touch Craig and Matt and yet we were using Lync to hold a conference call. 

The issue was that I could hear Matt and Craig talk. And then a half second later, it game through the phone.

So, let’s get…so…started..lets…Matt…get…do…started…you…Matt…have…do…the…you…notes…have…from…the…last…notes…time?…from last time? 

I put my hand over my ears to cut down on the crosstalk. Matt and Craig seemed oblivious to the weird echo. And it’s not like the conference room was on another floor, or something. It was literally 20 feet away. That’s the nature of working for a telecommunication company. We have phones and, dog gone it, we are GOING to use them!

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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