You opt in and show up at a meeting. You type an email to your boss. Or maybe you IM someone in another building. Sometimes you tweet something or send a text message.
Would you do that if you were having dinner with a close friend? Would you act like your friend isn’t worthy of your full attention, like your friend isn’t holding your interest so you need to do something else in his presence?
Why are you doing it to your coworkers at the meeting? Do you hate them, resent them, want them to fail?
Let’s assume this is a meeting that doesn’t suck, or at least doesn’t suck too much. You were invited, not commanded to attend. The desired outcome is clear, and it’s obvious that this meeting will help you meet the goal.
So don’t waste the meeting. Work together toward the goal, and get it done.
Start by deciding whether you will contribute to the outcome, learn from the conversation, or both. If so, opt in.
Next, respect your coworkers’ time. Be punctual—don’t waste their time by showing up late. Be prepared: do your homework before you get there so you can contribute.
Be present at the meeting. Don’t do anything that’s not related to the meeting and its goal. No email, web surfing, IM, texting, or anything else. Be completely present in the moment, or be completely absent and leave the room.
If at any time, you find that you aren’t learning or contributing, check out and leave the room. It’s OK. No one will hold it against you; better yet, they’ll respect your decision not to waste their time.
It’s all about being All In, or totally out. Hell Yeah, or not at all. Totally Present, or totally absent. Opt In completely, or opt out.
Meetings don’t have to suck. It’s your choice.