English has no final authority and cannot be a prescriptive language. It will always change and adapt freely with usage. This does mean that seeing things like “I can haz cheezburger” will always rub me the wrong way, but no one can or should stand in the way of this (r)evolution. It means that we are outgrowing the old means of expression and embracing something wider and new.
“The proximate cause of the milk story was the revelation about the aflatoxins. But the end result achieved by the government’s bungled management of the crisis is an even deeper distrust of the bodies which are charged with protecting the public health and welfare.”
"Creating a relationship with the client’s target public, with the media, with government, or with any other groups which affect a company’s business goes far beyond the creation of a stream of blathering, self-serving or otherwise."
The creative process at its best is one in which multiple inputs combine and associate in new or interesting ways to form something altogether different from many sources. The sources which used to be more common were conversations, newspapers, television, and books.
"Focus is about knowing the game before you roll the dice. Focus is about doing your homework and knowing the client and their current predicament/problem/situation before settling down your briefcase."
Thank you all for coming to today’s meeting in which we will review all of our previous meetings and discuss the relative value of convening another meeting in which we will meet about the conclusions (if any) of this meeting. At that time, we will also be presenting a presentation of the presentations seen heretofore.
If, by the time we arrive at Slide 421 of the 7,030 slides prepared for this debacle of a meeting, you have drifted into sweet somnolence, you may be forgiven. The fact is that we waste entirely too much time in meetings which have no point. In my view, these may not be classified as meetings.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am a big one for meetings. I will suggest meetings, join meetings, schedule meetings, meet about meetings. Meetings have a function and are useful at the best of times. Useful, that is, as long as the meeting has a point. As soon as people begin doodling, making private lists, and shifting back and forth in their chairs, something is definitely wrong at the conference table.
There are, however, three simple questions which might be answered before calling a meeting.
1. What is the point?
This seems like a simple enough question, but I have often been surprised at the number of meetings to which I have been invited which feel like more of a fishing expedition. When you gather the staff around the conference table, it is not a time to get suggestions about the topic of the meeting. We should ALL know already. We may have already seen a written agenda for the meeting.
2. Who has to be there?
If we have to decide whether or not to accept a new client, the cleaning staff may not have to be present. On the other hand, six vice-presidents are not required to assess the placement of the soda machine on the third floor. Most of the VPs have never been to the third floor anyway. If at any point you ask yourself during a meeting “what am I doing here?” there can be but one answer: nothing.
3. What has to be decided?
Something always has to be decided at a meeting. If there is no decision to be brought, it is merely information which can be disseminated through other reasonable channels: email, web, or strategically placed post-it notes.
In the end, meetings are all about decision-making. In a democratic workspace, it may be that a vote should be taken. In a more autocratic environment, the decision of the day may only be to obtain buy-in. Whatever the decision is, there must be SOMETHING to decide – otherwise you have gathered and co-opted people who might be productively working at something else entirely.
The three questions feel ridiculous when stated out loud. It would seem that the answers should be self-evident and therefore superfluous in the asking. But in applying the razor to any of the meetings which you call, you may find yourself with more free time to do that thing which allows you the liberty to call meetings in the first place: your business.
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