how to stop a meeting from dragging on endlessly and other interesting stuff

Over at QuickBase’s Fast Track blog today, I take a look at several interesting work-related stories in the news right now: how “theme days” might make you more productive, really good tips for stopping a meeting from dragging on and on (even if you’re not the person running it), and more. You can read it here.

{ 28 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous for this.*

    As someone who films government meetings, I wish I could send this to some people.

  2. Amber T*

    I really got my hopes up that you were suggesting Pajama Day or Backwards Day would make us more productive.

    1. AnonT*

      Me, too. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to come up with other reasons to convince my boss that the Friday before a long weekend should be Pajama Day. ;)

  3. chocoholic*

    We are actually having some theme days this summer. Next week is crazy socks/crazy hair, we have a college/sports day and then a pajama day. I’m cringing about that one, probably will decline to participate in that one.

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      We had pajama day at an agency I used to work for once. One of the account people, who was notorious for wearing clothing that was considerably more revealing than is normal in the workplace, but not so wildly inappropriate that it was ever addressed with her, took Pajama Day as an opportunity to wear a nightgown. It was so low-cut in the front that I could see the center of her bra, not to mention all the cleavage above it.


      1. Liza*

        And here I thought you were going to say she showed up on Pajama Day dressed in very conservative full-body pajamas, and surprised everyone.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      This sounds horrible to me. College or sports day, fine. Anything where you’re still in normal clothes, fine.

      Crazy hair? Pajamas? No way. It’s a terrible idea.

      1. Karo*

        My office does this as a way to raise money for charity (e.g. donate $5 for x and you can wear a hat!) but at least they make it very very clear that most normal dress code rules still apply. Pajama day still requires you to wear something at least knee length, no shorts, nothing revealing, etc. – basically if it would be work appropriate with a change in material, it’s fine. It’s silly, and I don’t participate, but it never really fazed me.

        1. Amber T*

          See now I’m regretting hoping for a Pajama Day. My innocent mind was excited at the thought of rocking my button down flannel penguin pjs with matching penguin slippers.

          1. Undine*

            Hah! Since the bottoms of my penguin flannel pjs wore out, I wear a penguin pj shirt with puffin pj bottoms. Northern and southern hemispheres represented.

      2. CR*

        Seriously. That’s stuff we did in high school during spirit week. Professional environment, not so much.

        1. chocoholic*

          Yea, I will participate in crazy socks and the college/sports day, and we are having a Hawaiian shirt day or something later on. Maybe I will bring my slippers to work and wear those around on PJ day. I’m cringing though.

    3. MsMaryMary*

      Our CEO is very conservative about office attire. We’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to convince him we should wear jeans and team apparel to support our city’s basketball team in their playoff run. Seeing as we’re from a city that is most unlucky in sports championships, people are very excited about the playoffs. So far, the best we’ve gotten to agree to is that we can incorporate team colors into our normal work clothes. :-(

    4. Vicki*

      Now I’m thinking of the cover of Scott Adams’ Dilbert collection, “Casual Day Has Gone Too Far”.

  4. Clever Name*

    Ugh. Meetings. I run a meeting where a couple of people seem to want to engage in a bitch session. Any tips for redirecting without being a jerk about it? Last time I had to repeat myself to get them to move on, and I’m sure I sounded snotty (I said something like, “Why don’t you two kvetch over coffee later?) . It’s really important that I keep these meetings to their allotted time.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you’re running the meeting, it’s even easier — you have standing to keep people on track. You can say “we have a lot to get through, so I want to keep us focused on the agenda” or “I want to keep us focused on solutions here,” etc.

      1. Clever Name*

        Thanks. I knew you’d come up with simple and direct wording I can use. I know that saying, “Will you two shut UP so we can move on!!” isn’t the right way to go. :)

    2. Artemesia*

      If you have authority over these people otherwise, I’d talk to them individually outside the meeting about the fact that this is a time waster and corrosive to others in the group. If not then you have to deal with it by a firmer hand managing the meeting.

  5. anonintheuk*

    I have a hypermobility disorder and my joints occasionally sightsee. I managed to wrap up a meeting in seconds by waving my hand and dislocating my knuckles

  6. MsMaryMary*

    I’ve started Follow Up Friday. I send all my reminder emails out on Fridays (sadly, I work with a lot people, internal and external, who need to be reminded to send me things I’ve asked for). I figure once a week is a reasonable amount of time to bug someone, and if I send all my reminders on the same day, I don’t have to worry about remembering if I’ve followed up or not.

    It’s also a nice, not too complicated activity for Fridays. In between checking the open thread, of course.

  7. Small town reporter*

    I kind of set up my own theme day of sorts — I have a weekly deadline (stories should be in on Fridays) so I like to spend Thursdays writing as much as possible. It doesn’t always work because sometimes stuff just happens on those days that I have to get to, but it does help me focus my week better.

  8. ScarletInTheLibrary*

    Too bad ours drag because the meeting lead (as in the director) likes to hear herself talk. And she thinks our division-wide meetings have to take exactly an hour long. Doesn’t matter if we have a lot to talk about or we finish with agenda items in forty minutes.

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