Monday, March 09, 2009

Cup Cakes and Punch

Walking towards the building where the meeting was to held I was having doubts. I wasn’t having doubts about the meeting but rather about a saying I had heard. The saying was, ‘Meetings a practical alternative to work.’ For the most part, I believe that, but this was going to be a hard meeting. Just then my cell phone rang, it was Cliff, the call went like this:

Cliff: Ralph, Cliff here.
Ralph: Say, can I call you back in a few minutes? I’m going into a meeting and I really don’t want to be a good mood.
Cliff (chuckling a little): Yeah, Ralph, that will be fine.

A few things needed to be cleared up. The minor one was the fact that over the last few months many meetings had turned into social events. Things like discussing weekend events, catching up the kids and spouses, etc. Well, in my world (limited as it is) meetings are not social events. I walked in, laid my notebook down, and said, “In the interest of time I am going to assume you all had a good evening, so far your today is going okay, and the very fact you’re here indicates you found the building all right. The meeting room has been reserved for an hour and a half but this meeting will only last fifteen minutes.”

When I looked up several people were grinning but all the social butterflies looked like I had just licked the frosting off the cup cakes. The minor point was made.

The major one was not as easy. When I was done addressing it, I closed by saying, “I’m not going to open it up for discussion because there is nothing to discuss.” Now, glancing around the table everyone looked as if they caught me peeing in the punch bowl.

Walking outside alone, I knew I was being spoken of with great fondness back in the meeting room. Not everything in life is a popularity contest.

But, I also realized how good the sunshine felt and, laughing to myself, how I needed to put Cliff on speed dial.

12 Comments:

Blogger Dan said...

That's classic. Good story.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Live Well, Laugh Often & Love Much said...

Social events....

Well if I was at this meeting, I guess I would have just asked you who peed in your Wheaties...?
Heck, then it would have been a social event. Good thing we do not work together ...LOL

GREAT POST !

7:41 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

You'd have scared me into keeping my social comments to myself... and hey, it'd be okay... long meetings with nothing to actually discuss, but things continually do get discussed are the worst!

8:30 AM  
Blogger Granny Annie said...

You are my kind of leader! When I was in charge, it was always my commitment to meet in the scheduled time or less but NEVER over and I always had complainers who simply wanted to listen to themselves and promote some unplanned agenda.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

I'm not on speed dial?

Well get me on there.
Great meeting.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Cheyenne said...

The visual of you lickng the icing off the cupcakes I can handle, but peeing in the punch bowl? That's a bit too much to handle. Heh heh

10:19 PM  
Blogger Lanny said...

Well shoot fire I just can't think of anything funny. But I did give you and Cliff an award to share it is in my Sunday post.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Aravis said...

Like Cheyenne, I'm a visual person. But I'll restrict myself to visualizing their faces. *G*

It sounds as though you did what you had to do. Simple, clean, clear and to the point. Well, that assumes that what you actually said during the meeting was clear and to the point. I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, though.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Jerry said...

Ralph,
You're my hero!

6:34 PM  
Blogger Marla said...

Great story. I think you need to stay on track at meetings or they are nothing but a waste of time.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Janell said...

"Walking outside, alone...." It's always bad to be the first one to leave a meeting because you KNOW you are goin to be THE topic of conversation. However, peeing in the punch bowl before you leave... nice touch!

12:20 AM  
Blogger nora said...

I so agree with you (about meetings - keep your mitts off my cupcakes!). As social as I am, I run a tight ship with meetings. I start out with a "in order to respect everyone's time" platitude and dive in.
I've also learned not let the discussions fly. Most times I tell people that "I'm a ponderer" and need to think about the answer and I'll get back with them tomorrow.

5:57 PM  

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