Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A meeting of minds

The committee meeting this week was a rare one. We met, discussed items on the agenda, made decisions and followed them through. Easy. It was all over in an hour.

Bert would not have enjoyed this. Bert's tactic was to wait until a meeting seemed to be drawing to a close, then decide he had to discuss a few technical difficulties - usually ones that had no clear solution and ones that had been aired before. Sid was no better. Sid would arrive 10 minutes late, then waste another 10 minutes scrounging a copy of the agenda and details of the previous meeting - an unfortunate habit given that he was chairman. There would always be a spell of reminiscence and no attempt to control the content of the meeting, Ethel lived on her own. Consequently the chance to talk to other people was too good to miss; who could not fail to be enthralled with blow by blow accounts of parking problems, hairstyle nightmares and the challenges of telephone calls offering PPI refunds? The classic one however was Clive. Clive was not one for consensus decisions - the only way was "Clive's Way" - and whenever a Choral Society committee decision went a different way you could be sure of  several minutes of high drama to enliven rehearsals.

There do seem to be some unwritten laws about committee meetings.

Whenever the "boss" wants to avoid a decision the number of participants invited increases.
Minutes can be turned into an art form. Indecisive meetings require a delay before production of minutes and may contain references which few can recall (other than the minute writer).
Mobile phone calls/texts must take priority over meeting content.
Water bottles/drinks should be personalised and on full view.
Jargon is absolutely vital and should be thrown into conversations casually, confidently and in such a way that the comments sound plausible.
Commonly used words, such as "issues" and "like" should take on new meanings. 
"No problem"  along with "Don't worry about it" is the standard answer.

I suppose there is a chance that I have lost the plot and am just out of touch with modern ways of thinking. For example,  I was enjoying the closing ceremony of the London Olympics until the music started. In contrast that was the moment when "rapidly approaching teen-age" family members started to get interested.

It's an unnerving experience when, just now and again, meeting agendas work out as expected and minds actually meet. It makes me wonder whether I missed something...

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