I hate meetings.
Everyone gets together in a room, and suddenly someone wants to turn it into a social hour.
Others like to hear themselves pontificate. It's human nature when you're meeting face to face—the cadence of required pleasantries, the necessary warm up before FINALLY getting to the point, the public comment period which no one seems willing to end, the always-too-long wind down.
I think I've found an answer to the problem.
TIM isn't a person, it's a timer. The name stands for Time Is Money. Place TIM (pricetag $24.99) on a table during a meeting, and it will calculate how much money is being lost with every passing minute. "Simply enter the number of people in the room, ballpark an average hourly wage, and press the illuminated start button," the web site reads. "Everyone will be amazed as the dollars pile up with every second that ticks by."
Maybe you can award a prize for the most concise employee.
A YouTube commercialfor TIM shows an office meeting where one woman goes on and on about her preference for pencils over pens. She's called "The Minutia Maker". In another, a woman called "The Boss Phrase Repeater" regurgitates her supervisor's approval of clipping over stapling (the Latin name for this syndrome is called "Brown-nosis repeatus").
TIM's creator, Brad Johnson, says he got the idea for the product after working at a company that held weekly four-hour staff meetings. "Yes - that's right - 4 hour staff meetings!!! At the end of each meeting, I walked away wondering what did that accomplish?"
It accomplished TIM. Johnson turned his frustration into an idea. "It became my personal quest to make sure no one endures that type of torture in the workplace!"
CrunchGear checked out TIM. "In all honesty, I don't think bringing TIM to any meeting is going to win you any popularity contests," writes Scott Merrill. "It might help keep your meetings shorter, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll be more productive." However, he suggests another purpose for the device. "TIM might be nice for freelancers or contractors who have a hard time keeping track of billable hours, especially on long conference calls. Simply start the clock running when you join the conference call, and you'll know that you're billing hours just for listening to everyone else ramble on!"
What are your suggestions for keeping meetings short? How about cutting out all treats and coffee? Don't even provide water. Someone else suggested removing all chairs and making everyone stand. Enter your ideas in the comments section.
Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email firstname.lastname@example.org