Preparation is half the battle
Logically, it follows that no preparation is also half the battle, and a great starting point for having the worst meeting possible. So do this:
- Don’t prepare yourself for the meeting
- Don’t give others a chance to prepare —this means: avoid sending out an agenda, presentation or relevant materials before the meeting
- If you can’t avoid sending out something… either send out the wrong materials, or old / obsolete versions
Finding the perfect meeting room!
Booking the room
It’s a bit obvious that you’re trying to screw things up if you don’t book a room at all. Here are some other, more practical ideas:
- Book a meeting room that’s too small to seat everybody
- Book a room that’s HUGE (you may as well ruin it for someone else who needed the space, if possible!)
- Double-book! It’s sure to be a hit when others show up
- Change the meeting room at the last second
Features of the room
You may want to ensure that your meeting room meets some or all of the following requirements:
- It should have no windows or natural light at all
- No working aircon
- It should be near a busy entrance with a door being constantly opened / closed
- An added benefit would be a small but very annoying noise … like an overhead light buzzing, or a high-pitched “squeeeee”
- An extra added benefit would be an odd smell, like somebody left an old ham in the waste basket.
- If possible, the room should have no whiteboard, roll-up or projector / tv
- You should of course also remove all paper and pens! (oh, and remove those handy guest WiFi information cards!)
- There should not be enough chairs, so remove some — somebody should be left leaning against the wall or forced to look for a seat.
- For bonus points: add clutter such as cardboard boxes, used plates, old coffee mugs and garbage.
- When you press “send” on your Outlook invitation — don’t include which meeting room you’re going to be in
- Obviously, as mentioned, don’t include an agenda in your invitation
- Invite people at the last minute
- Invite people who don’t need to be there (but make attendance required!)
- Invite A SHEDLOAD of people. More is better!
- Double-book people! They have another meeting? Doesn’t matter — invite them anyway! :)
- Move the meeting. Then cancel it. Then re-invite people!
Time is a great way to mess with people. Everybody is busy and pressed for time, so you can seriously worsen the experience of a meeting through a few simple time-based tricks:
- Make the meeting very long —like 3 hours! Or all-day!
- Let it draaag out … set the meeting for an hour, but just keep it going forever, and ever, and ever… with no end in sight!
- Schedule the meeting at a time where people usually do personal things — like in the morning when people normally drop off their kids
- Schedule the meeting at meal times such as breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- You might even schedule it at night, requiring people to get out of bed (“hey, we don’t want to let down those overseas clients, come on, make an effort!”)
- Show up late for your own meeting (obviously!)
Avoid steering the meeting
- Do not have a moderator for the meeting — It’s fine, just let the strongest people in the room control where it goes
- After a little while, you (the guy who invited everybody) just up and leave.
- Avoid stating what the purpose of the meeting is
- Let the topic under discussion change at random. If nobody changes it — okay, do a little bit of steering, and change the topic yourself!
- Have more than one meeting at the same time — people are gathered here together, it’s the perfect time to discuss the road map for next year, the implementation of a feature AND the christmas party!
To ensure that your next meeting is even worse, you might want to follow some of these suggestions:
- Don’t document anything about the meeting — decisions, questions, status
- Create no to-dos / action items
- Don’t follow up from the last meeting (should be easy, since you didn’t document anything!) :-)
Have an attitude problem
There’s a few different ways to ruin a meeting by being in a particular state of mind. You might try to…
- Be abusive — interrupt others, shout at them, scowl, pull rank, call people names, don’t listen to anything anybody says, and just constantly push your own agenda!
- Be indifferent — ignore everyone else, sit with arms crossed, use your computer all the time, work on private stuff, and you might also listen to music or watch YouTube!
- Be super-over-the-top hyped! Talk all the time, agree with everything people say, and have a can-do attitude about absolutely everything, no matter how absurd.
For a bit of extra fun
You might spice things up by…
- Putting a thumbtack on a chair (oh man, that never gets old!)
- Bring a shaver and buzz somebody’s head
- Drop the next person’s phone in the coffee
- Tip over your glass of water into somebody’s laptop / groin / shoes
- Mute the speaker on your video conference (teeehee!)
- Put tape over the lens of the video conference camera
Thanks for reading
This has simply been a bit of fun with negative brainstorming .. it’s interesting how easy it can be to generate what NOT to do — and then of course you can spend some time reversing those things to find more benign patterns :)