Tag Archives: meetings

We’ve all heard of the “Freshman 15” which refers to the average 15 pounds a college freshman puts on when away from home for the first time. Finally on your own and free to eat unlimited quantities whatever you want, possibly on a college “unlimited” meal plan. There’s also a lot of change happening at this time in life with a new home, no more high school and new people. All of this stress can trigger overeating. The Freshman 15 is similar to the “Office 25”, which is a term that I just made up, but refers to an average 25 pounds that an office worker will put on in a sedentary job. Sedentary, like engineering. There is no typical engineering job; some are in factories, some are on assembly lines, some have excessive travel and some are in front of a computer. But as a generalization, I think it…

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  Today I did something horrible: I cancelled my classes.  I really didn’t want to, but my younger son had to be taken to the ER for some stitches.  (He ended up not getting them because, after hemming and hawing a bit, the doctor decided it was looking fine and the stitches would be more traumatic.) But back to the topic at hand, I hate cancelling classes.  The students are very unforgiving of late and absent professors, something I discovered when I was on a much bigger campus where I regularly showed up about 30 seconds prior to the beginning class.  Apparently punctuality is actually lateness in their eyes. I remember one of my professors in undergrad who showed up about 7 minutes late for class once.  We were all just getting up to leave when he walked in.  My infantile (and entirely fictional) telempathic abilities picked up a huge,…

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The preparation I do for a meeting depends on the meeting. If it’s a recurring weekly thing where I’m supposed to have made progress – well, then I show the progress I’ve made. If it’s an update meeting, I just go and listen to whatever the current status of whatever the project is. If it’s a meeting with another engineer, I go with no preparation, and then we work on whatever problem we’re solving. But I’ve learned about a new category of meeting, now that I’ve started dipping my toes in the business world. It’s the “reaching out” meeting – or the “touching base” meeting – or the “finding overlapping interests” or “maybe we can collaborate” meeting. Basically these are meetings that are the first contact between you and the other person. Sometimes you want something out of the other person, sometimes they want something out of you, and the…

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I like to think that John Kenneth Galbraith was a bit on the cynical side. Still I’ve never been particularly fond of meetings (who is?). Despite trying to learn more about running effective meetings, I’ve lately been developing a list of pet peeves about meetings. Failing to realize that not everyone wants to listen to you hash out details There is nothing more annoying than listening to someone conduct a meeting within a meeting. Honestly, meetings should, for the most part, cover higher level issues on a project, such as progress or difficulties. They are meant to keep everyone on the same page as far as progress goes. They are not a good time to bring up this niggling little issue that’s been giving a person problems but that person failed to ask their coworkers about until they’re sitting down across from them. And double curses on people who carry…

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It’s been two years since I first posted this on my own blog. Things haven’t changed a bit since. Netmeeting, LiveMeeting, WebEx, and a host of other online meeting tools are great. They allow people separated across vast geographic distances to collaborate and share information. Sitting at one’s desk staring at poorly prepared presentations with too much information while the presenter reads it verbatim off the slides may seem torturous boredom more fitting for breaking down interrogation suspects, but this style of virtual meetings present an opportunity that simply cannot be matched by the good old gather-in-a-big-room face-to-face meeting. First, there’s the mute button. Sing, curse, snore. No one will be of the wiser. (Make sure the mute button works.) Second, the PC that’s streaming all those wonderful slides over the ‘net also allows you to surf-while-you-meet. Check stock prices, read my blog, download MP3s. (Make sure to lay off…

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