How do you handle boring meetings?

Do you ever have to go to meetings that you have a hard time seeing the value in? Do you bemoan, "I'll never get that hour of my life back!" and show everyone your resentment through your sullen body language? Must you suffer through being miserable, or is there something else you can do?

One of my coaching clients was sharing her frustration with having to go to such a meeting where the person in charge of special projects would be sharing the plan for rearranging cubicles in the office. The stated reason for the rearrangement was to improve the ability of team members to work together, but my client believed the real reason was to open up more prime space for senior managers to get larger offices. I asked my client what I would have seen had I been in the meeting room. She confirmed my suspicions that she clearly communicated her feelings through her body language -- looking down or out of the window, holding her mouth tight so as not to blurt out her opinion, and leaving the room as soon as possible when it was done.

Inspired by Marshall Goldsmiths' book, Triggers, I asked her how she would rate herself after the meeting using Marshall's four simple questions:

  1. Did I do my best to be happy?
  2. Did I do my best to find meaning?
  3. Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
  4. Did I do my best to be fully engaged?

Sheepishly, she shared her scores would not be very high.

In Triggers, Marshall asks, "If you knew that you were going to be tested, what would you do differently to raise your score on any of these four items?" When I asked this of my client, she came up with several things she would do differently.

My client acknowledged if she showed up that way, she would feel better about the meeting, and she would be setting a better example as a leader in her organization.

It was a good reminder that even when we aren't excited about a meeting, we are making a choice about how we show up.

Diana Hutchinson is  the COO and Success Enabler for Trebuchet Group 

Diana Hutchinson is  the COO and Success Enabler for Trebuchet Group 

It's so much fun to help leaders build their effectiveness

Thanks Marshall for your great insights!