Meeting Etiquette

Pet Peeve: inattentive meeting participants

I’ve decided that meetings are unproductive because people don’t pay attention.  Here is what I’ve seen in the last few weeks during meetings:

  • Cell phones!! Cell phones should be banned from meetings unless you are expecting an emergency call.  Oh no, I watch people check Facebook, play games and text.  Really people?  We’re adults, perhaps your workplace would be better if YOU LISTENED IN MEETINGS and were a positive participant.
  • Talking to other attendees.  There may be a time during a lull that you can whisper something to your neighbor; however, there are people who do this constantly throughout the meeting.  Even giving them the hairy eyeball doesn’t seem to shut them up.
  • Computers.  It’s one thing if you’re typing notes up from the meeting but it’s another thing to be doing everything else.  Not long ago I watched a manager answer instant messages, type emails and surf the internet during a meeting.  Each time the meeting speaker came around to our side of the table, she would put her ‘notes page’ up and pretend to type.  It was obvious she wasn’t getting anything out of the meeting and all I wanted to do was hit her in the back of the head with a frying pan.

Remember back in the day when there was a cure for things like this?  It would be nice not to treat adults like children but it’s inevitable.  Here are my solutions:

For cell phones, I think you should get it slapped out of your hand with a ruler.  In the seventh grade my Algebra teacher smacked a ruler on my fingers because he had taught my brothers…apparently it was guilt by association and he needed to make a statement.  We didn’t turn teachers in back then for being physical, in fact, our parents probably encouraged it and signed waivers.

For the talkers, duct tape their mouth shut.  In the fifth grade I watched a classmate get his mouth duct taped shut for continually talking during class.  Not just a piece of tape, he wrapped it around his whole head, more than once.  Good thing the kid didn’t have a cold.

For computers, make the person lay face down with their nose touching the floor.  In fourth grade I had to do this during recess because I got in trouble for not paying attention during a class.  Seems like an easy task until you have to lay there for 15 minutes with your head up and just your nose touching the floor.  Odd but effective.

 Now, I don’t need a whole bunch of comments that I encourage abuse and violence because I don’t; however, I do think those of us who were punished back in the day in similar ways turned out pretty good.  It would be good to bring that back to the present day.

I do fantasize about hitting someone with an oversized frying pan, kind of like a cartoon.  You know what I mean, you smack them, their tongue darts out and their eyes bulge.  Then they go away rubbing the back of their head.  Such a great mental picture for me and a great therapy tool, try it sometime.  You can use your weapon of choice, it doesn’t have to be an oversized cast iron frying pan.