April 28, 2009

Live-Blogging a Real, Live Corporate Meeting

...so you don't have to!

9 AM:
An early morning 2-hour meeting has been scheduled so I cradle my coffee as if it's beer. We're watching a DVD of a meeting that already took place so this was essentially a meeting of a meeting. I didn't notice if we were being filmed so I'm not sure anyone will view a meeting of our meeting watching a meeting.

9:12 AM:
Oh so it's not so bad. It's restful. I misunderestimate these sorts of meetings. It stars Peter, a dynamic speaker who does try to keep things moving. These type meetings also tend to attract the most mellifluous of talkers, whose dulcet tones undulate over a broad range of pitches. They talk fast, offering a pleasingly high density of information that gives the illusion of speed. No "uh's" or "um's" or other speech holders. They speak like streams, and the effect perhaps harkens back atativistically to the time we were read to as children.

9:16 AM:
Meetings are not so bad because they give you the feeling of doing work without really doing any. It's like how sometimes after I run I'll get on a bike and it's amazing because I'm going faster with less effort. Or like driving a fast car after a 4-cyclinder. Meetings can be like that, especially if you can take notes like I'm doing. (The main effort is to avoid falling asleep; best to remain in that hazy semi-soporific range.)

9:21 AM:
Sigh. Much of it rehashes common sense. Like just now how we're starting to target customer groups. Gee whiz Batman! You mean we weren't targeting customers?

9:42 AM:
Very, very thin these people. Disarmingly so. The camera can't be adding weight to them. One tiny guy ought wear a tighter suit, I think. His arms are swimming in the jacket sleeves. No tie, striped shirt. Not sure if that's a good call. Absolutely not even the hint of a stomach. Amazing. I put the over/under for the combined weight of the last three speakers as 400 lbs. They must eat financial statistics for dinner. Sales figures instead of pancakes for breakfast.

9:43 AM:
I'm in Conference Room "Pine". The new set-up has eliminated calling rooms "A", "B", "C" ....or numerically, but now Pine, Hickory, Mapel, Cedar, Brazillian Nut Tree. I joke about the last. Nice, I guess, although the power of association makes me question it. How many times have flowers been ruined for people who've experienced them during long hospital stays?

9:47 AM:
Oh this is rich. An undertaker-type guy is head of outsourcing. Tall, black suit, properly sober tie, distinguished gray hair, he offers to talk to any group who will have him about the benefits of outsourcing. Though he tells us the answer in advance: "cost savings". Common sense again rears its ugly head. Imagine though, having to sell the benefits of outsourcing to potentially outsourced employees? Form meets function; you can imagine him whispering, "may I extend my sympathies on the loss of your job."

9:48 AM:
Guy named Troy speaks. That's a really strong name.

10:07 AM:
There's a digital timer on the screen that provides the elapsed time. It's like a progress bar in Windows, makes you think something's happening when nothing really is.

10:09 AM:
Next speaker refreshingly non-corporate. She has long black hair, a bit unruly, unabashedly feminine clothes, a huge flashly belt with silver hoops. High cheek bones. Pleasantly attractive in a girl next door sort of way rather than erotic way. Tall. Uses the world holistically a lot. Six times in last four minutes?

10:15 AM:
Next speaker has red hair, and looks like a cross between Shirly MacClaine and Andrea Mitchell. Puts up a brutally busy slide and said she was going to try to unbusy it but that she decided she liked the way it is because it shows how much work she's done. "I could stand up here and talk all day," -- striking fear in every heart -- "but I won't," our fears relieved.

10:17 AM:
Three more mentions of holistic! Houston, we've got a winner. Holistic must be the hottest new buzzword in corp-land.

10:18 AM:
Funny, if hurtful, line from uber-salesman: "Working with the regulators makes meeting with pricing actuaries look like a frat party." Ouch! I resemble that remark.

10:33 AM:
"Any questions? I know we've thrown a lot of information at you..." Uh, wouldn't that make for more questions? Or were we all information-stunned, a sort of corporate tazing?

10:34 AM:
Ben was out sick today, definitely a "felix culpa", a happy sickness given this meeting being on the schedule. But then P. says he's going to have to watch the DVD later himself. Ouch. That's just cruel and unusual punishment.


Bill White said...

> How many times have flowers been ruined for people who've experienced them during long hospital stays?

Or funerals. I had a manager years ago, a women in her 60s or so, who wore a disconcerting perfume that smelled just like a funeral home room filled with flowers.

Gregg the obscure said...

Now you're a regulator? Just when I finally got it clear that you were a programmer rather than an actuary!

I've got some regulatory duties. Lately I've been conducting meetings reminding staff of patient confidentiality requirements. There's a real party atmosphere for you!

Since I look like a middle-aged Santa Claus gone to seed, there's a certain darkly humorous side to my presenting messages of doom. Since I'm a ham, I do my best to speak more articulately than most.

TS said...

I'm a ham too, on this blog!

Nope, not a regulator, I "resemble" the actuary, in that I'm a programmer in an actuarial department. Thus causing me to identify with actuaries. Pogrammer or actuary, we're both nerds. :-)