Tuesday, October 27, 2015


"It's funny because it's true. Eerily, sadly, depressingly true. It made me laugh until I cried. And cried. And I cried some more."

Good Morning Folks,

An epidemic of bad, inefficient, overcrowded meetings is plaguing the world’s businesses — and making workers miserable. 

David Grady has some ideas on how to stop it. 

David Grady is an information security manager who believes that strong communication skills are
a necessity in today’s global economy. He is known for a video online about ineffective conference calls. Short and to the point, David is an entertaining speaker. His point is important, but not much to it.

Picture this:

You've just come into work. As you're getting set up for the day, a co-worker comes in and proceeds to walk out with your chair, without saying a word. No comments on why he needs it, or if and when he's going to bring it back. Just up and out.

That's how David Grady begins this hilarious six-minute TED Talk, "How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings," which has now been viewed over 1.5 million times. Grady's performance, in which he acts out every terrible conference call you've ever been on, begins at 2:38 in the video.

In the presentation, Grady asserts that attending a meeting without a clear purpose or agenda, and in which you are unsure of your role or contribution, allows others to steal your valuable time in the same way they would steal your seat. As Grady puts it, "When this highly unproductive session is over, you go back to your desk ... and you say, 'Boy, I wish I had those two hours back. Like I wish I had my chair back.'"

So who's at fault for this (not so) petty larceny? Logic dictates that the brunt of responsibility lies with the meeting proposer. But Grady places the primary blame on meeting attenders--those who choose to inflict themselves with what he describes as the global epidemic of MAS: mindless accept syndrome.

Have a look:

People feel powerless to resist these meetings. David suggests “¡No Mas!” that instead of always accepting: if you don’t know why you were invited or what the meeting is about, you should instead reply ‘Tentative”. You can the call the organiser and offer your assistance, but get more details about how you can help. By doing this, people will hopefully start to think more before sending out an invitation – publishing an agenda or rethinking why they need to set up a meeting at all.

Dave's No MAS is based on two primary principles:

1. When you receive a meeting invitation that's missing desired information, click the "tentative" button.

2. Next, get in touch with the meeting proposer. Tell the proposer that you're very excited to support his or her work, ask about the goal of the meeting, and find out if (and how) you can be of help in achieving that goal.

And as Grady gracefully and succinctly concludes:

People just might start to change their behavior because you changed yours. And they just might bring your chair back, too.

No MAS! Who's with me?  Worth a quick look, or for subtly forwarding around at work. You know who you are :)

Thanks to TED and to you for listening.

Have a GREAT Day,

Mitchell D. Weiner
Chief Happiness Officer

Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TED Tuesdays on MitchWeiner.com highlights some of today's most intriguing ideas. Look for more talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more— HERE.  

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