Meeting Lessons

I don't usually blog about my day, but today I'm going to make an exception. This exception is prompted by my friend and co-worker, who knows absolutely nothing about meeting etiquette, or etiquette in general, for that matter.

The meeting in question was our weekly status meeting, which is usually scheduled for an hour and falls right between breakfast and lunch. In other words, it falls in prime bathroom time. You've just downed a 36 oz. cup of coffee and quite possibly a Mountain Dew, and even though you went to the can before the meeting, you know that by the end of the meeting you're going to be doing the pee-pee dance in your cube, just counting the seconds until the meeting ends. Incidentally, the reason that I can do the pee-pee dance with wanton abandon is because I am not on site, and therefore I dial into the meeting via audio conference from my desk.

Which brings me to the next point. A point that I was, until yesterday's meeting, entirely sure everyone on god's green earth knew. It turns out that this particular person is unaware, and this blog entry will be my attempt to educate him in the serious and seriously annoying error of his ways.

As a general rule, the last thing that shows up on the meeting agenda is something called, for lack of a better term, "Rounds." The purpose of "Rounds" is to give the people at the meeting one last chance to bring up a topic or ask a last-minute question that wasn't covered elsewhere in the meeting.

The thing about "Rounds" that everyone except this person seems to instinctively know is that there is only one possible and accepted response that should be made when your manager is going around the table asking everyone by name if they have anything to add. That response is "Nothing here," or "No, I'm all set" or even something as simple and to the point as "No." All variations on a theme, and all variations expressly designed to avoid the facilitation of further discussion, because as everyone else seems to understand, the object of the meeting is to get the fucking thing over with as quickly and painlessly as possible.

If you have a follow-up question, bring it up later in an e-mail, or a phone call, or god forbid, during another face-to-face meeting. Whatever you do, do not string them all at the end of "Rounds."

When you do this, it makes two things happen. One, it causes the meeting you're in to overlap the next one you're supposed to be attending -- with no time in between to do anything other than drop your pants right where you are and piss in an empty Mountain Dew bottle. Two, it makes the other people at the meeting want to hang you with CAT-5 cable until you are dead.

As I was standing there doing the pee-pee dance and gauging the volume and straw-hole size of a Veryfine juicebox, he asked not ONE, not TWO, but THREE different follow-up questions. When our manager asked him if there was anything else, and he mercifully said "No," I actually muttered "GOOD!" into the phone, not realizing I had done so.

I can't be held responsible for wanting him to die, because at that point, I was blinded by the pee-pain. When I heard the laughter on the other end of the line, I realized I didn't have my phone muted like I had originally thought.

So take my advice, people. And you, my anonymous coworker -- pay close attention.

"Rounds" = "Nothing Here."

Remember that. It will serve you, your co-workers, and my bladder well.


  1. Anonymous10:40 PM

    That's right up there with "Man Law".

    You sir, have talent! Love your blog.

  2. I bet this person was like those gunners in law school - the ones who couldn't stop taking up class time with their inane questions, instead of going to office hours like everyone else.

  3. I think he did it just to fuck with your bladder.

    Or he's just looking to chalk up some cred for his PAR.

    Nah, it has to be the first thing.

  4. Dammit, Special Dark! How is it possible I am friends with someone who tries to be productive at work? He's embarassing me. I'll have to have a talk with him later. Hopefully it will not lead to any conversations about wanting to do me in various inappropriate ways and/or places.

  5. Brutal : )

    But keep a jug near you to use in an emergency. I do it all the time. In the car, watching a movie.

  6. Anonymous1:20 PM

    I had a proffesor that used a wireless microphone. He forgot to turn it off when he went to the bathroom. Luckily all we heard was the urinal flushing. Imagin his supprise to the reason why 90 students were laughing uncontrollably when he entered the room!

  7. I love that you yelled "Good!" It is something that I would have done during my brief foray into the chummed, shark-infested waters of the NYC corporate world.

    Keeping up with that analogy, I was the chick with superficial skin wounds bleeding gently who decides the water looks fantastic for a skinny dip.

    So the question is, who was the one laughing on the conference call that clued you in to your faux pas?

  8. No, no, the question is why Cat 5? Cat 5e is greatly superior in its ability to cancel out FEXT (Far End Cross Talk), which I personally think would have been beneficial in this situation.

    Don't even get me started on Cat6.

    - Scott

  9. This link has nothing whatsoever to do with this post, except that maybe you could look at these pictures of Evangeline Lily during your next meeting.... enjoy


  10. Oh, amen on that. I was in a meeting about a year ago where one of the guys was using Rounds as his own personal one-on-one discussing crap nobody else gave a damn about. I needed to get the hell out of the meeting ASAP because I was having a serious reaction to some medication and had to call the doctor (in hindsight, I should have just left, but I have trouble leaving meetings before they're over) to make sure I wasn't dying. I was ready to slap the idiot.