One Solution for Meetings You’d Rather Not Attend
Let’s face it, some meetings are necessary, well run, even enjoyable. Others, well, you’ve surely been to some (as I have) that make you want to stick a pencil in your eye and set your hair on fire. Or at least run out of the room screaming.
Am I exaggerating? You tell me.
In the most horrible of meetings, I’d usually just hunker down and pretend to pay attention while doodling on a legal pad. Try to stay out of any disputes. Just grin and bear it. Tell myself, “This too shall pass.”
The organization was undergoing changes of management, and of course, politics being what they are with each faction warring with the other, there was a lot of bitter conflict among the staff. The daily meetings were agony, just watching the barbed looks and vitriol shot across the room. Nobody wanted to go to them.
Here’s a solution some friends and I dreamed up:
A few of us decided that maybe a therapy dog would calm everybody down and bring a certain je ne sais quoi into the proceedings.
“No, no, no, strictly against the regulations. Not sanitary, you know. Germs, ugh.”
Okay, so what could we do to make those meetings at least bearable? We came up with our own therapy dog. “Let’s see, we’ll name him Pal. He’s a really good, happy dog, generally well behaved. He might be big, he might be little, he might be shaggy, he might be sleek, but we’ll train him well.
Whenever someone said something reasonable or compassionate, Pal would go to his or her side and wag his tail. But if things got ugly, Pal would be dispatched to the perpetrator of bad vibes to lift his leg. In really tough cases, we’d have to send Pal over to bite someone who just wouldn’t play nice with the other boys and girls.
The few of us who created Pal so loved deploying him here and there that it made the meetings wildly funny for those of us in the know. Now we’d be eager to get to the conference room and get a good seat to watch the dynamics flying around the room.
All it would take would be a tiny bit of eye contact, a subtle roll of the eyes, and a slight motion of the head to launch Pal into action. Those meetings became the most fun in town, well mostly. That’s a slight exaggeration, maybe, but when things would heat up, I’d think: Just say it, Buster. That’s fine. Just be nasty, but you’ll have Pal on your hands, or rather on your pant leg.
So if things get hairy in your meetings (or in other situations), you could always call in the ubiquitous Pal, the amazing, invisible therapy dog.
How do you handle meetings you’d rather not attend? I’ll bet you’ve got some great stories and solutions to share with us. Do tell!