Meetings Are Toxic. Not.

I initially subscribed to the idea that meetings are/were a waste of time. Hyped by founders of 37Signals, in their book Rework

, Jason believes that meetings are toxic and promotes the same in their website: Boycott A Meeting Day. But then if you’re a thinking animal, you’d at least wonder what their agenda was, why are they pushing this idea. They sell productivity web-based software. Aha!!

The logic was that if you had a one hour meeting with five of your team mates, you’d be wasting not just one hour but five hours. Yes, one hour of each person. Okay… fair enough.

But sometimes life is not about productivity only, it’s also about relationships. We are after all, the social species. In fact, more business is done through relationships than through just being productive or hardwork.

If you have nothing new to discuss, or find that time flies by in a meeting. Don’t sweat. There’s a thing called team building (unfortunately, today’s iPod generation don’t understand this too well), it’s about understanding how everybody responds to work related matters. Just consider the meeting time as a way to get to know each other better.

If you look at the reasons Jason and David fire out, you’ll start to realize they don’t understand how to do meetings well. Their suggestion to avoid them is at best a false sense of ‘I know this better than you do’. They’re probably social and life skill disabled (I don’t blame them, they’re geeks). Or they’re just pure genius; sell people on the idea that meetings are a waste of time — and convince them that this ‘special’ software is the best solution. Hmmm… reminds me of web-conferencing companies selling the hazards of flying.

What is the solution? Know what kind of meeting you require, there are various types. And for heaven’s sake — don’t blame the people who attend it, blame those who lack a clear Mission & Purpose. (That’s usually the founders of the company!)