Many yeas ago – 1990 to be exact, I was getting my motorbike’s oil changed at a roadside shop. The mechanic working on my bike was a trainee and his boss who was also the master mechanic was keeping a keen eye on him. The trainee was taking his own sweet time to get things done and looked extra relaxed with a cup of tea in one hand and a wrench tool in the other. The master mechanic then uttered a sentence which has remained ingrained in my memory to this day. I’ll do a literal translation here as it was said in Urdu. The mechanic said “Do your work with some fear” (zara ghabra kar kaam kia karo.) The trainee didn’t get it as he kept asking “what do you mean that I should work with fear?” The master mechanic also couldn’t explain it in more words except he kept repeating “work with fear….work with fear.” The trainee didn’t get it. He shook his shoulders and got back to work and his cup of unfinished tea but I got it – or at least I think I got it.
How many times have you been to a meeting where people are seen working on their laptops or checking text messages where as one desperate looking host is seen doing all the talking, managing phone lines and asking questions. When a question needs to be answered, the host usually asks one of the persons behind the laptops, who first asks to repeat the question and then gives a throw away answer to go back to his ‘more important’ work on the laptop. The meeting audience in general shows the classic behavior that they’d rather be somewhere else than here.
Why is it so? This is because most of our day is spent in meetings and people don’t get time to finish their ‘real’ work. Therefore they bring their laptops to the meetings and try to do the ‘real’ work there while missing out on the subject on hand.
Therefore from my own experience, I have one sentence for you to make the meetings more effective. Get up, Stand up, stand up for your time.