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I Fell Asleep In A Meeting

Maybe The Meeting Was So Boring Anyone Would Fall Asleep

Actually, I’ve nearly done it several times. And you have to wonder, is it me, or is it the meeting?

A little while back, I read a blog post by someone who shall remain nameless. He was commenting that he would have to try and figure out how to work with people he called “older workers” after an incident where someone he called an “older worker” fell asleep in one of his meetings. He was going on and on about having to be more respectful of the knowledge these “older workers” had, but maybe they just didn’t have the stamina for the job.


Maybe you were just boring, dude. I remember falling asleep at a college lecture, listening to a professor drone on and on about whether or not a chair that he had put on the table in front of the lecture hall was there or not (yes, it was a philosophy class – metaphysics specifically). I was maybe 21, and I’m pretty sure there were lots of others nodding off or even snoring in the ranks.

Why is it when an “older worker” (code for anyone over 35) falls asleep, people blame age, but when someone under 35 falls asleep in a meeting, the meeting was either boring or they partied too hard last night. Rock on!

But I digress. Maybe if people are falling asleep in your meetings, there’s something wrong with your meeting, and not the guy. Maybe this is just another one of those status update meetings that could have just as easily been done by email. Maybe this meeting should have been a conference call. Maybe you didn’t need this meeting at all. If you think about all of the time wasted in meetings, it would boggle the mind.

I worked on one project where the guy demanded a nightly, 1 to 1.5-hour-long status update, where everyone droned on about the little progress they’d made because this wasn’t even their day job, and the night was the team’s most productive time.

Think about all of the meetings that you have day after day. Are they really necessary? Do you need that 1.5-hour drag fest when an email would suffice? Have you ever looked around and calculated the value of the time spent by your team in pointless meetings?

Maybe it is past time to look at your calendar and pare your meetings down to the bare essentials:

  1. Can you have the meeting in less time? Why have a 30-minute meeting when 15 minutes or even 10 is enough? Or 6? Or a one-hour meeting in 30 minutes. Or 23?
  2. Do you need to meet at all? Why not a detailed email?
  3. Pick up the phone or Skype once in a while. Can’t get through? Schedule the call.
  4. Always have an agenda. Even if it’s a little emailed bullet list
  5. Always send the agenda out way beforehand. Not 5 minutes beforehand.
  6. Follow the damn agenda. Don’t go off track. If you do, take it offline!

We could all stand to shave time off meetings and get back to work.

Now get back to work!

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9 years ago

7. Write the minutes before the meeting. I learned that one from the British comedy series ‘Yes Minister’. It keeps peoples’ minds focused on the purpose of the meeting.

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