Meetings are Toxic

    2 June 2006, early morning

Meetings are Toxic was one of the chapters in 37signals Getting Real book. It’s a sensible enough idea, which generated a lot of discussion over at Signal vs. Noise. I’m sure all of us in the working world have endured meetings we thought would never end. I find that once you get more then 3 or 4 people in a room your productivity is going to quickly turn to shit. Eathan, the lead character in JPod by Douglas Coupland seems to agree. Midway through the book, we the readers are told meetings are toxic:

Here’s my theory about meetings and life; the three things you can’t fake are erections, competence and creativity. That’s why meetings become toxic—they put uncreative people in a situation in which they have to be something they can never be. And the more effort they put into concealing their inabilities, the more toxic the meeting becomes. One of the most common creativity-faking tactics is when someone puts their hands in prayer position and conceals their mouth while they nod at you and say, “Mmmmmmm. Interesting.” If pressed, they’ll add, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” Then they don’t say anything else.

Update: I emailed 37signals about this quote, and they posted it to their website, where it is being discussed.



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