In professional life, there is always a need for a meeting. When there is a meeting involved, there are always two opinions about it. Meetings waste a lot of time. There are many people called into a meeting where most of them are irrelevant. There are scores of articles written about how to organize and conduct meetings. As I have nothing new to add on that subject, I will stay away from such topics. At the same time, I would like to address a misconception about the action items generated in a meeting.
Recently, I was in a meeting with a group of people. In the current scenario where remote collaboration is becoming not only necessary but also attractive, the meeting was a teleconference. Pappettan was in the room along with me and several others. One of our colleagues joined late. By the time our fellow member came into the meeting, we had finished all the major items.
One of us: *with a smile* Welcome.
Late Arrival: *sounding apologetic* I am sorry. I got caught up in something else.
One of us: *hiding the smirk* We are finishing up the meeting.
Late Arrival: *disappointed* Oh!
One of us: *seriously* There are a few action items. You are the owner of the majority of them.
Late Arrival: *slightly agitated* Because I wasn't there, it was convenient to put all actions on me.
As soon as the late arrival completes the statement, all of us become quiet. We realized we had touched a raw nerve. None of us were sure how to tackle the situation. At this point, Pappettan took charge effortlessly.
Pappettan: *chuckles* Hello Late Arrival. I am Pappettan.
Late Arrival: *silent and tensed*
Pappettan: *explains as gently as possible* There were action items on us too. But since we were in the meeting, we could address them immediately and close them.
Late Arrival: *silent*
Pappettan: *continues calmly* Since you were away, we parked it. Now that you are here, you can close them like we did.
Photo Courtesy: Office Now