Meetings! Meetings! Meetings!

Our beautiful, aware, and precocious fourth-grade granddaughter, Eloise, can be quite direct at times. The other day on the ride home, during an afterschool conversation in the car with her dad, she let loose a volley of words that our son wasn’t expecting. He had just told her that he was going to call Poppi because he (Moi!) had a window of time to visit before an out-of-town meeting that night. It was the word “meeting” that unsettled her and triggered the comment, “I have never once heard him mention the word meeting!”😲 

Image Credit:

Matt surmised that this sounded a lot like what she often hears from both of her parents who work remotely from home much of the time. They will often comment to Eloise and her siblings, “You’re going to have to entertain yourself for a little while this afternoon. I have a meeting for about an hour, and I cannot be disturbed!” Now, she is hearing for the first time that her beloved Poppi is also a “meetings-type person!” And it has her thinking, “What is the world coming to?!”

Parents face the challenge of balancing home and work issues every day. This is true for those who work in-person and well as remotely. Kids will be kids! Parenting has always been a daunting experience, but especially when mothers and fathers are often required to be engaged with work or find it necessary to check their devices for communications twenty-four seven! It’s little wonder why the kids are trying their patience in an attempt to get as much attention as possible in the situation!

Meetings could be more productively managed. When I recently asked my wife what she most appreciated about a good meeting, she quickly replied, “They get something accomplished!” Meetings have gotten a black eye over the years among employees and volunteers. We have become ruthless consumers and are quite possessive in the use of our time. Many of us have observed that meetings tend to expand to the time allotted for them. So, our thought is "Let’s get something done or not meet!"

As a minister, I have participated in meetings all my life. Some of these have been in community, business, government, school, and as expected, in church, and denominational settings. Even though I am semi-retired these days, I am still required to sit in on training and information sharing sessions related to my service as a workplace and law enforcement chaplain as well as an active member in my church.

Here are a few observations regarding best meeting practices:

1.         Always have an agenda and be sure it is more than just a start time. I prefer printed agendas that are emailed to committee members ahead of time. These help chairpersons and participants to manage the information and time allowed. It is usually best to keep the meetings as short as possible. These days my attention starts to severely wane after 1 hour!

2.         Keep the meeting targeted upon the agenda and specific information. Some of us like to hear the sound of our own voices! Others like to embellish topics and chase rabbits that are not on point. Good leaders know how to reign in the discussions and keep everyone on task.

3.        Be patient and respectful when perturbed. I have been working on this for years. Sometimes what seems off-topic could be one of those eureka moments of insight that each participant needed to hear. It takes some committee members a little while to get to their point.

I value good committee work. It builds a spirit of teamwork, collaboration, and hopefully gets something done! The Scriptural adage, “Two are better than one” applies to what committees are ultimately trying to accomplish. We want our companies, organizations, and churches to make the best possible decisions. When we work together we usually come to better action plans and conclusions.

The Scriptures offer us guidelines and compelling reasons to work better together. “Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.” (Hebrews 10:24,The Passion Translation).

Let us “keep meeting together!”

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.




Popular posts from this blog

A Rescue Story!

Sayings That Shape Us!

"You're Excused!"