Friday, September 21, 2007

Meetings, Bloody Meetings

Excuse my language but that was the title of an excellent John Cleese training film made in the 1970s and remade in 1994. It looked at the skills required to make the most of meetings, not the alternative to real work but a genuine, if used well, way to achieve more.

For those who wonder what their clergy do all day, in addition to my regular duties, I have been to four meetings this week.
  • Deanery Chapter (25 people: 2 hours) on funeral ministry.
  • Deanery Synod (45 people: 2.5 hours) on the Diocesan Structure Review.
  • Local Ministry Group Ministers' lunch (5 people: 2 hours) on local organisation.
  • Churches Together (20 people: 2 hours although I ducked out early to get to meet with a few people about something else) on about a million different things.

That's 212.5 working hours used in meetings. Although some useful work was done and some decisions made, none of them felt satisfactory. The result of that is feeling (feelings mind, not necessarily reliable) that the time could have been used better, and thus, in a busy week, slightly stressed.

I love meetings when you walk out with the feeling that time has been saved not lost. The one hour meeting I had at the end of the last one, with three other people, saved me three one-to-ones doing briefing, encouraged me to keep going with a task that I had lost a bit of faith in and sent me to bed feeling better than any night this week.

If any chairs of meetings have not seen the film I commend it.


Dennis said...

What saved last evening's meeting for me (the first one that Steve refers to) was two phone calls received this morning expressing appreciation for either what I said or did not say (in other words I kept my cool!) Thank you - much appreciated.

Jonathan Potts said...

I'll second that - great film. (Though John Cleese is 90% of why it is so good).

Kev Webb said...

I think I read somewhere that at Privy Council meetings, everyone stands except the Queen. The idea being that this keeps the meeting short and focussed.

I've always fancied giving it a try, but never been quite brave enough.

St said...

Yet we are all familiar with water-cooler meetings or photocopier meetings which get a quick exchange of views done whilst waiting for something to happen.

For a year or two at CPAS we had a daily prayer meeting, in the office, which no-one sat for.