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It was a former colleague at my first job that ignited my interest in meetings. He got me onto meetings… and how to avoid them (see also my other posts). But he did it in a strange way.

An unlikely hero

Just after my graduation I started working for a big organisation, one of those where meetings proliferate. Though being a junior, my days were filled with meetings. I was so used to having meetings that during holidays, when most people took their leave because of the school holidays, I felt at loss with the sudden amount of time behind my desk.
Many of those meetings I forgot.

 

Meeting time izzzzzzzzzzzzzz……

But I do remember our staff meeting. It took place every Tuesday afternoon and one of my senior colleagues always fell asleep! The first time it happened, I could see him drift away and close his eyes. I was flabbergasted, but being new I just watched how the others and especially the leader would be handling the situation.
Nothing happened.
We just went on with the meeting as if my sleeping colleague just vanished from the room. We totally ignored him!
No wonder that he would fall asleep almost every single staff meeting and that his nap could last up to half an hour.

 

Speaking up by sleeping

What’s the point of a meeting if someone falls asleep every time? And who should act upon such a situation?
Instinctively I put the blame on the leader of the meeting. He should ensure that every-one is kept engaged, that participants come with real concerns. But the other participants, me included, are also to blame. No one would have objected me making a comment to my sleeping colleague. But I didn’t and neither did anyone else.
It made the whole staff meeting pointless. And that makes my colleague the only hero in the room. He did have the guts to show that the meeting was a total waste of time. The way he told us was certainly unusual! But at least he did it.
So who is the hero of your staff meeting?

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