Yawn…it’s another boring meeting.
The lights dim, the projector beams its blinding light, and the speaker clears her throat to continue what appears to be a never-ending meeting. You have just come back from lunch break and the classic case of midday napping overtakes your attention span. No PowerPoint presentation is going to create a stir in your somnolent soul. If you have a choice, you would rather spend time with the in-laws than remain seated until the end of the day whistle blows at 5:00
Meetings represent the ultimate office endurance test, but fortunately, rather than simply play Office Bingo, you can implement tips to help you cope with a boring meeting.
Make Your Voice Heard
A boring meeting often unfolds as a discourse monopolized by one speaker. The speaker drones on interminably, way past the time that you finished the last New York Times crossroad puzzle published over the past week. Hour after hour of listening to someone makes no sense produces an automatic sound barrier that science has yet to comprehend. The best way to tear down the sound barrier involves speaking during meetings. Ask questions and participate in round table discussions that value your contribution.
Discover Something New
Office meetings typically rehash topics discussed during previous meetings. In fact, if you want to address a problem or settle a workplace issue, meetings represent the worst venue to get the job done. The obstacle that prevents problem resolutions sits to your left and right. Yes, meetings tend to leave most issues unresolved, because the same workers ramble on about the same tired topics at every meeting. Acquire the discipline to pay attention to new topics introduced by speakers at a meeting and ignore the incoherent musings of coworkers that like nothing more than to hear their own voices.
Request More Breaks
The human brain has its limits for paying attention to anything. If you stay focused during a meeting for 90 minutes, you have established a focus that exceeds the focus maintained by most of your professional peers. Paying attention requires a lot of mental effort and after 90 minutes, most brains begin to block information. We become irritable and fidget in our seats. Ask the organizer of the meeting to schedule shorter breaks throughout the meeting, especially if it consumes the entire working day.
Give it the Old College Try
It’s hard to retain information during a boring meeting, which is why we have a pen and paper to help us remember what the speaker babbled about during his or her presentation. Taking notes sharpens our active listening skills, instead of creating a vast dull void in our heads. Note-taking also informs the speaker that you care enough about the meeting to pay attention.
Call in Sick
Some professionals save sick days to enjoy the first stretch of nice weather after a brutal winter. Other professionals take sick days to handle personal obligations. Savvy professionals accrue enough sick days to avoid boring meetings. Most professionals receive word of a boring meeting well in advance of the dreaded day. A few days before the meeting, the professionals begin to complain of an ill feeling that grows slowly until the day before the meeting. Call in sick or even better, take a vacation day to avoid sitting through an office meeting.
You don’t have to play connect the dots or write down the 50 American state capitals to pass the time during a boring meeting. When the lights dim and the PowerPoint presentation begins, simply ease back in your chair, lower your eyelids, and nap the meeting away.
Just hope the meeting doesn’t require your participation.