by Ted Cockle



The past few weeks at work we have had a number of rather large meetings.  It was ironic, then, that I came across the image to the right (via).

This got me thinking.  Going into last week, meetings were some of my favorite parts of the work week.  But my perspective changed a bit.  This led me to create a list featuring the pros and cons of meetings (below).



The Pro’s and Con’s of Meetings

  • Interaction with other people
  • Time allotted for critical and creative thinking
  • A nice break from staring at a computer screen
  • A sense of accomplishment on decisions made
  • A sense of vision – With everyone present for the doling out of responsibilities, workers are able to see how the work they are about to do fit into “the big picture”
  • Getting paid to do an ethnographic study of co-worker group dynamics (especially interesting if an authority figure is present)
  • Sometimes there is food

  • Current projects are temporarily put on hold ultimately to get new projects on top of the previous ones – The to-do list quickly grows
  • Possibility for frustration – you may see how little weight your opinion holds
  • Lots of time spent coming up with a consensus with the complete possibility that none of your ideas will be implemented (i.e. your collective boss might not like your ideas)
  • The possibility for little or no sense of accomplishment for decisions left unmade
  • Upon analyzing the group dynamics there is the possibility to become bitter towards those who completely dominate the conversation


With these thoughts in mind I think I still fall on the side of loving meetings.  I feel as though the cons are mostly “possibilities;” whereas, the most of the pros are all but guaranteed to happen (unfortunately this isn’t the case with food).

So what should we learn from all this? A big thing that we see here is that the success or failure of a meeting is largely dependent upon the person leading it.  Does the leader cast a vision for what the meeting is about as well as the meeting itself?  Are the points of discussion clearly stated?  Do these clearly stated points actually get discussed?  Therefore, as a good leader, one must understand the possibility of the “cons” and learn to avoid them.  Also, the leader of the meeting should bring food and a chart to point at.  But seriously.  Avoid the cons, and bring food.