HowTo:Chair A Meeting
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Your career has been going well, so far. You are a bitter upper manager at a stock brokerage who wields some decision making clout, that is, if the eight bosses above you do not veto said decision or steal it as their own. You drink Starbuck's every day while driving to work in your mid-size sedan company car. You have a daughter who's childhood you ignored, she has joined the Marines and changed her name to Jed. Your son refers to you by first name and lives in your basement, which he has painted black to match his eyeliner. Your trophy wife hates your guts and has moved to Cleveland with the guy who tiled your kitchen last year.
Anyway, your career is going so well, in fact, that your boss has asked you to chair an executive meeting because he and his secretary are leaving Friday morning for a weekend in Panama City. Success, in this case could mean a promotion and your own office close to the bathrooms. Failure, is not an option, at least that's what the motivational posters say in the break room.
After several rounds of text messages to the Hog you met on match.com last week, you realize you have no fucking clue about chairing a meeting. Sir, I submit that after further reading, it will be a breeze.
Most meetings take place in a designated "meeting" room. This room serves no purpose for seven hours of the day. It will have an impressive table of dark wood and pleather office chairs surrounding it. You will sit at the head seat, it will probably remind you of the dinner scene in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If that didn't help, you may know it as the serving line for the annual Christmas dinner they give you to make you forget that you've missed the past thirteen Christmases with the family.
Pens and Paper
All places at the table must have pens and paper so the participants will shut up and listen to you if they forget theirs. Pens and paper are a throwback to the era before the digital age and they are still the most effective way of getting work done. Meeting participants will be impressed at the "blue collar" image a pen and paper projects.
- Remember to collect the pens after the meeting, people in the corporate world love to steal
Make sure your generic power point presentation is ready to roll for the big moment. Run through it several times and practice regurgitating the bullets off the screen and giving no additional information. That is how power point is supposed to be used.
Presentations should consist of the following:
- Bullet format, ALWAYS!
- Graphs and charts that fly or fade in (also known as laser pen targets.)
- Company logo on every page, preferably with moving parts and the word synergy nearby.
- Enough pages to fill one to one and a half hours.
The Big Show
Ok, the big moment is here. The attendees are in place. You put your suit jacket on to cover the pit sweat accumulating on your heavily starched Ralph Lauren shirt. You attempt to introduce yourself as the "Schmo" who your boss picked to take his place in this meeting, nobody laughs. We're off to a great start.
- Stand in front of the projector screen and summarize today's talking points.
- Take a seat at the head of the table and fidget to get your laser pen out of it's holster.
- Read the first slide of the presentation that has not changed since 1998
- Attempt to get a cheap laugh by saying, "Are we done yet? No.. just kidding."
- Make sure you laugh at your own jokes if nobody laughs.
- Stand in front of the projector screen and do a half way summary of today's talking points.
- Carry a pen and gesture, if you aren't sure what to do with your hands, just wave them in a circle.
- Make eye contact, stare at each attendee until they break eye contact, then guffaw to yourself.
- Point at the screen.
- Skip pages accidentally and then say, "Oops can we go back?"
- String out the words "Uhhh" and "Ahhh" during verbal pauses.
- Stand in front of the projector screen and do an end point summary of today's talking points.
- If there are questions, deflect them to your minions.
- If there are any praises, accept them as yours.
- End the presentation by skipping the last twelve slides regardless of content.
- Attempt to field questions, nobody will have any.
- Drop your pants and show the women in the room your fat schlong
Back to the prairie
That my friend is how you chair a meeting and nail it! Now get back to work motherfucker, we don't pay you to stand around grinning like a pedophile.