Trials & Tribulations of a life in advertising

Monday, April 17, 2006

Boredrooms And Other Forms Of Torture

Of all the systemic and institutionalised forms of torture known to mankind, the boardroom is the most agonizing. Here you have a captive audience that can be called at a short notice and forced to endure excruciatingly long hours of sheer torture. Unless you have a valid excuse – reasons of health or more often than not, another boardroom meeting – you cannot escape this persecution. I have one such agonizing agenda later this afternoon.

I have been attending boardrooms for a little over four years now. And I’ve noticed certain inalienable truths about meetings in general.

1. No office meeting has ever ended within the stipulated time. Once in the advertising frame of mind, you can discuss all evils surrounding humanity. For as long as you want.

2. No meeting ever limits itself to the agenda. Meetings that begin with the latest market findings can effortlessly digress to closely associated subjects like Ganguly opening the innings.

3. No meeting has ever begun on time. If everyone is unusually punctual, the first 10 minutes will be devoted to just that. How come everyone is on time today?

4. Whenever someone says “I’m viewing this with an open frame of mind”, you can certainly conclude that he or she has already decided what the issue is and what ought to be done.

5. “I think we have a consensus here” is a beautiful rendition of “I don’t give a damn what you guys think, I’ve made up my mind and you’ll follow it”.

6. It’s not important how good or bad an idea or suggestion is; what matters is who is stating that. As you move up the value chain, you have to confront the inescapable truth. You don’t judge an idea. You judge the person.

7. You can go into a meeting without preparing for even 5 minutes. To be the star of the show, all you have to do is keep reacting to every trivial thing discussed there.

8. When you find nothing else to criticise an idea or an individual, you can “count on your experience”. “Two years back we had a similar problem and..” or “In my previous job, we tried this track”. Nobody can ever dispute your non-existent, totally irrelevant experience. Of course, unless someone else is clever enough to do the same to you.

9. In front of others, subordinates generally laugh with their boss at the slightest hint even if they have heard that recycled joke a million times.

10. The time tested ploy to answer someone when you are asked whether something’ll work or not, or whether an idea is the right one, you can always fall back on this gem. “Maybe, maybe not”.


Blogger Encarna said...

Fuck...sounds like u work in my office...or is it that bad everywhere? Top management full of crap, calling meetings only to give themselves a forum to hear their own voice..that's what these meetings are actually about.

11:11 PM


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