Boring Meetings: How to Survive Those Long Board Meetings


We all know those meetings at work where you are so bored you think you might just cut your own ears off so you don’t have to listen any longer. However, instead of going to that extreme there are some things you can do to help you survive those long and boring work meetings.

How to survive those long and boring meetings at work

1. Don’t say a single word
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard came from a Tibetan Buddhist Lama I know. He was forced to attend management meetings at the local buddhist center which he really did not enjoy. He disliked the politics and the petty bickering and he was frustrated by the fact that nothing ever got sorted out.

One day a friend of mine who equally disliked the meetings asked him for some advice. His response was priceless:

“Don’t say a single word. Not one. I have noticed that the meetings finish much faster!”

He then sat in the meeting with a wry smile on his face. It soon finished. This advice has served me very well. Sometimes people seem to call meetings for the sake of having meetings. Nothing gets done so why drag it on? Say nothing.

2. Get interested
On the flip side of number one it can be a good idea to get involved and interested in what is going on in the meeting. Often times we really don’t care about what is being discussed so we sit there waiting for it all to be over.

However, if we do a little preparation before hand and take a bit of an interest in the meeting it can become a wonderful opportunity to make some changes around the office. If you present things in the right way you can often get the ball rolling on something exciting and new. It might be a new water cooler or it might be a new process for doing a task that is presently outdated and slow.

Try getting interested. Force it!

3. Don’t go
One thing I have done once or twice is send a note to the meeting organizer explaining that you cannot attend because you have another important meetings scheduled for that time and there is no way you can change it.

Missing meetings like this is wonderful. You avoid all the boredom. However, it is not a strategy that you can do every single time there is a meeting or sooner or later someone will realize that something is up.

Give it a go every now and then and see what happens.

4. Meditate
Here at The Daily Mind we are all about making the daily grind more meaningful. And we know that one of the best ways to make work meaningful is to meditate while you are working. It could be a breathing meditation or it could be a meditation on concentration. Whatever it is board meetings actually present a great practice opportunity.

One of the best meditations to do in a board meeting is that of “awareness”. The idea is to keep your mind focussed on the task at hand without wavering. This is hard to do at the best of times but even harder when the subject matter is boring and dry. However, try listening very hard to everything that people say. Don’t let your mind wander onto other topics like what they are wearing, how yellow their teeth are or what you are going to eat for lunch. Every time your mind wanders simply bring it back to the topic at hand.

As you progress you will find that you can focus a lot easier and boring subjects will not seems as dull because you are focusing on them fully.

After all… the reason we find meetings boring is because we are thinking about being somewhere else!

top image:Creative Commons License photo credit: stovak




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6 Comments »

Comment by MARYWORTH
2008-04-22 14:37:30

I love the Tibetan’s advice! That really is actually a pretty good idea. Thanks for the tips!

Mary

 
Comment by Raymonds
2008-04-22 14:39:01

Found this post on Digg. Love it!

I think that getting interested in the meeting is a good idea but not realistic. I really cannot see myself getting interested in occupational safety when I sit at a computer. I mean, nothing heavy is going to fall on me – I don’t care how many accident reports i have to fill out.

Raymonds

 
Comment by The Daily Minder
2008-04-23 06:50:18

Mary – it really does work.

Raymonds – I know what you mean. Some of those office meetings really are so pointless. But, if you look for something meaningful and useful in the situation you will find it.

Thanks for the comments you guys.

TDM

 
Comment by brendan
2008-04-24 00:53:04

I think meetings are the most boring part of my work. people seem to just like the sound of their own voice and don’t really want to make any real headway.

one other tip i have is to sit on the same side as your manager as he is then less likely to make eye contact with you and ask you a question. lol. lazy but .. what can you do?

 
2008-05-07 03:15:41

Meetings are such a tricky animal. Sometimes they can be really productive and fun, on other days they are a torture rack.

My favorite is get interested. I’ve had days that I felt like pulling out a leg hair every few minutes to keep myself awake, but the best way to stay alert is to get interested. Ask questions and give feedback and you become a part of the game instead of some sidelined scrub.

Great post!

 
Comment by The Daily Minder
2008-05-07 03:39:24

Karl – I agree. Good stuff.

TDM

 
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