Corporate meetings


A new management mantra is storming the corridors of corporate scenario: the standing–up meeting. As every Tom, Dick and Drucker knows, meetings have always been the alpha and the omega managerial existence. If, at any given time on any given day, you are actually to be found at your desk instead of sequestered in a power meeting with your corporate peer group, there is something terribly a miss, and its much more serious than a pronounced case of BO. Conversely the more meetings you attend, and consequently the less time you spend at your so called work station, the more likely you are to succeed.

Meetings are like Chinese meals: no sooner have you had one than you’re ready for the next. Trouble is unlike Chinese food, corporate meetings can’t be a quick takeaway affair. They are time consuming, ceremonious rituals more akin to the Japanese tea ceremony. Indeed, tea plays an important role in official meetings. Just as the chairperson is getting the proceedings going, in walks the tea boy with a tray full of slopping cups- No, no, not that one, that’s got milk in it; I have mine black with a squeeze of lime; Has this one got sugar? I don’t take sugar; I like it unsweetened; Are there no biscuits to go with it? Shouldn’t we have some Thin Arrowroot or Marie or something? and before anyone can say ‘Who’s keeping the minutes?’, the minutes have turned into hours. And it’s time for the next meeting. Meetings are like elephants in a Maruti: no matter how hard you try, you can never fit enough of them in.

Then, out of the blue came the new idea of the standing up meeting. It was the Copernican revolution of the corporate cosmos. Henceforth, meetings would not revolve around the time available for them; time would revolve around the meetings you could pack into it. Basically the standing up meeting is exactly a meeting in which all attending remain on their feet. No sitting, No tea, No thin Arrowroot, or Marie biscuits. ‘No minutes’ which stretched into hours. Just stand, speak and scoot. It was as though the magical wand of nanotechnology had touched those elephantine creatures and shrunk them into microscopic midgets, any number of which could comfortably swan around in your regular, standard-sized Maruti.

* The concept of the standing-up meeting is derived from two activities noted for their succinctness and brevity, both of which require the perpendicular position. One is the singing of the national anthem. The other is the cocktail party, where the lure of free booze and snacks is effective.

* Offset by the prospectus of contracting terminal case of varicose veins from being on your feet all the while.

The hallmark of corporate success is to be invited to a standing-up meeting. As a lighter example an executive waited to be called to one. His wait was in vain. He decided if standing-up meeting wouldn’t come to he will go to a standing-up meeting on his own. He saw some people standing around so he joined them and asked ‘Standing up meeting?’ But it turned out to be a queue for getting one self listed as an OBC. He joined another upstanding formation. Standing up meeting? He ventured expectantly. But it turned out to be the box office line up for Fanaa. He was ready to give up on standing up meetings when he found standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a guy. Standing up meeting?, he queried eagerly. Finishing what he was doing, the guy zipped up and walked away, telling me to piss off.