There was a time when there used to be a sense of ceremony about them. In the days of the BMP era (before mobile phones), there were designated rooms and even, if you were particularly lucky, a small saucer of Digestives and Jammie Dodgers to differentiate them from the run-of-the-mill things we did in our working day. Back then, meetings were, in the main, things you held when you had to – to plan a change of tactic or brainstorm new ideas.
Now, there is no escape from them. There are meetings about meetings. There are meetings about who should be at meetings and meetings about where we should hold meetings. No time for a meeting? Why not have a “catch-up”, a sort of meeting that is not quite a meeting but is, nevertheless, an important part of the meeting strategy moving forward and so on.
Even worse than the interminable meetings to talk about work, there are those “big-picture” meetings during which hapless employees are asked such questions as: “If our product were a pair of shoes, which kind of shoe would it be?”
Then, armed with such searing insights, more meetings will be held and the combined findings will go on to be the underlying reason to hold more meetings and more catch-ups, all aimed at boosting the profile of a product that no one is actually making any more because, of course (you could see this coming a mile off), everyone is all tied up in meetings.
Still, at least we’re in the loop. But would it hurt to provide the odd Jammie Dodger?