In today’s hyper-collaborative corporate environment, the ability to actually get something done is more of a rarity than a dog-friendly rental in Vancouver. With constant interactions and “Hey, got a second?” interruptions, the new path towards productivity is avoiding meetings altogether (especially status meetings, where everyone just reports and leaves). And unless you’re a unicorn sales maverick, you can’t just skip status meetings …you have to find ways to not get invited anymore.
With that in mind, here are five ways to stand out from the crowd and ensure that you’ll never get invited to another status meeting again.
KOA Delivers ROI
Most folks arrive at meetings a few minutes ahead of schedule, but your goal is to find ways to get out of status meetings forever. Try camping-out in the room a full day beforehand. When you arrive, set-up a sleeping bag, unfold a Captain’s chair, and pitch a single-person tent. You can skip the rain tarp in Gemini Conference Room up on 15. And since cooking dinner over a wood fire is probably against code, light-up cans of Dinty Moore directly on the surface of a portable hot plate. If a fellow office traveler asks what you’re doing, tell them you’re “prepping for the status meeting” and invite them to sit a spell for checkers and journal time.
BYOA (Bring Your Own Agenda)
Regardless of the topic at hand, change the agenda at the top of the meeting. Distribute a separate and somewhat irrelevant rundown listing vague items like Insights from the December Offsite, Housekeeping, and Politics and Religion Roundtable. Banish yourself to blissful status meeting exile with questions like “So what do we think of this whole God thing?” and “At the end of the day, Paul Ryan’s just a regular guy like you and me, right?”
Race to the Middle
Even though the Trump administration is backpedaling the environment to 1928, workers are saving the world by biking to work. Commuting on two wheels conserves gas, burns fat, and hey: nobody wants to stand next to that guy on the subway, much less in a professional meeting environment. Take things a step further by wearing a Tour-de-France style cycling suit (ideally with the Avis logo and Velcro toe-clip shoes). Invite further shunning by passing around a donation form for the upcoming Biking for More Bike Rides Charitable Lakefront Bike Ride & Walkathon in September.
Start a Documentary
If there’s one thing that people lovvvvvvvvve, it’s hearing a cryptic announcement that a status meeting will be recorded for reference down the road. Ramp-up the ambiguity by using your phone to record video of people speaking. Every so often, say “Sorry, can you start again? I just need to reset the angle…the light was off.” If challenged, offer: “Oh sorry, Daily Motion crops videos really weirdly for mobile. Hey, can you spell your name?”
Get Social…In Real Time
Positive group dynamics are important, but people actually yearn for affirmation and praise on social media. Combine the two by endorsing meeting attendees on their LinkedIn profiles for generally irrelevant skillsets. While Carol announces that Calgary just green-lit the July campaign, hop onto LinkedIn and click “yes” for Data Presentation. When Russ walks through the Friday-Fridge-Clean-Out-Schedule-Which-As-You-Guys-Know-Includes-Soy-Sauce-Packets-And-Cottage-Cheese, affirm his achievements in Microsoft Excel.
Congratulations — you’ve just earned yourself an hour of free time during the next status meeting. I hear the Lakefront is gorgeous this time of year.
Originally published in Canadian Business magazine.