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Meetings

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


I need to talk to my manager about my work and about some other issues that have come up, but every time I make an appointment, he cancels. We reschedule and reschedule, but it takes too long to get to him. What can I do?
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Our manager called a meeting to get our suggestions on plans for our department. As the meeting progressed, it became clear that our input meant nothing and the plans were already finalized. I was annoyed with the waste of time, and I don't want to sit through more meetings like this. What can I do?
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I was conducting a meeting recently, and I asked a particular employee for his thoughts on the issue we were discussing. He responded that he was thinking about something else, and he then made some random comments. I shook my head and continued the meeting. Should I say something to him?
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I have been with this company for over two years, and my manager has been in my office only once. I rarely see him in the halls, and all meetings are held in his office. When we meet, he listens to me and gives me feedback and advice. I just don't like this power thing of having to meet in his office. Is there anything I can say to change this?
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I arrived late for a meeting because I was on an important phone call with a vendor. When I quietly sat down, the manager running the meeting gave me a look of disgust and made a degrading comment. Afterwards I told him that I did not appreciate what he did, and his response was for me to get to the meeting on time. I told him about the call and he did not care. What do you think?
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I am rather new to management, and I am spending so much time in meetings and on committees that I hardly have enough time to actually do my job, especially when you add in the time I spend with my staff. What's a manager to do?
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One of the employees who report to me asks question after question, to the point of disrupting meetings and general conversations. I have been patient with him and tried to help him become a better listener, but nothing works. Can you offer any help?
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Management always encourages the employees to volunteer for some committees, so I followed their advice and got onto a committee that has been a nightmare. We are meeting too frequently, often into the evening, and the discussions are a waste. I'm thinking about quitting the committee, but I fear how that will look. Any suggestions?
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As general manager, I want to make sure that I stay on top of the employees' attitudes and interests, so I hold an open meeting in the afternoons on the last Friday of each month. I am always surprised at the low attendance in these meetings. What are some ways to get more people to come?
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At a recent weekly management meeting, one of the managers who is usually upbeat and positive was extremely critical of everything I said, and his tone was condescending and insulting. I don't know what his problem was, but all of us noticed it. Should I say something, or figure it was one of those things and let it go?
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Our new manager is very strict, and he said that prompt attendance at his staff meetings is essential. Then he added that if we are late, he will lock the door. We thought he was kidding, but when I arrived a few minutes late because I was on a business phone call, I was locked out. The only message from the manager was for me to get to the next meeting on time. How does this sound to you?
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When we have departmental meetings, there is one person who interrupts me whenever I am speaking, and his comments usually have noting to do with what I was saying. I get upset and distracted by this, and I don't know how to deal with it.
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We were discussing operations in a departmental meeting when our manager misinterpreted some information and made a questionable recommendation. I gingerly corrected him, but he has been upset with me since then, and I'm not sure what to do about it.
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One of my employees gives me suggestions on how to do my job, but the problem is that he only does this during meetings with my manager. I don't like this, but I don't know how to get it to stop without creating more problems. What do you suggest?
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We just had a business lunch meeting at a very noisy restaurant. I think I heard about half of what was being said, and now I've got to track people down to find out what I am supposed to be doing. This is not the first time we have met at this restaurant, and it's a waste. I should say the food is great. What's the point of these meetings?
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We have monthly meetings that have turned into monthly beatings. Last month two people thrashed me publicly in the meeting. I informed the department head that if this happens again, I will leave the meeting. One of the people complaining at the meeting has a ten-year friendship with the department head. What do you advise?
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I've been working at a small company for about 5 years, and I haven't had any real complaints. We just hired our first Human Resources director. Through the rumor mill, I heard that she suggested to the owner that the employees meet in small groups to criticize each other and bring all our faults into the open. The boss thought this was a terrific idea. How do I convince the boss that this would be the beginning of the end?
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I was unable to attend a management meeting that was run by our regional vice president. I learned afterwards that one of the other managers criticized my work, my attitude, and the way my department is performing. His comments were inaccurate and hurtful. I cannot let this go, but I am not sure if I should go directly to the vice president or to this manager first.
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I run a small department, and my manager scheduled an 11:00 a.m. meeting with me and two other department heads. At a few minutes before 11:00, I arrived at the meeting, but it was already going and the topic was focused on how to improve my department (which is running extremely well). I didn't know this was the topic, and I was incensed that they started without me, but I didn't say anything about it. Do I have a right to be annoyed?
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I have an employee in my department who is on more committees, task forces, and special projects than anyone I have ever seen. The problem is that she is rarely around when I need her, and her work is suffering. How do you work with someone like this?
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What should we do about managers who go to meetings and do not bring complete information for the employees? The only way we get information is through other people in the company. This seems unethical and unprofessional to us.
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After a very upsetting meeting with my boss, I walked out of his office and muttered an expletive about him that no one was supposed to hear. He heard it, wrote me up, and warned me that if I don't change my ways, I'm out. I don't think it was fair to be punished for something he was not supposed to hear. What do you think?
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I am a region manager in a company that employs a fair number of women in outside sales. Each winter and summer, we have sales meetings. This past winter, there was a noticeable amount of cleavage on display from a group of women, including their female manager. The company solicits feedback on these meetings, and several comments were made regarding this display, including some from other women. The same problem occurred in our summer sales meetings last week. I don't believe the company has a formal dress code. What do you suggest?
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The last time I made a formal presentation before our group, a few people came in after I started, so I summarized what they had missed. My manager told me afterwards that if they did not get there on time, that's too bad for them, and there's no need to waste everyone else's time recapping what they missed. Does that seem like good advice to you?
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Whenever I meet with my manager, I get nervous. I'll start talking, and then he throws curveballs. I get flustered and make mistakes, and then the meeting ends and I have made another poor impression on him. What's the best way to prevent this from happening?
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When I hold a meeting, I expect people to pay attention, and I am convinced that when they are sitting there and chewing gum, that does not happen. There is a reason why children are not allowed to chew gum in school, and I think it applies to the place of work. I want to insist that people refrain from chewing gum in my meetings. What do you think?
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I am in charge of a committee and one member gives me trouble when we have meetings. He takes over and cuts off conversations, forces the group to move to the next item on the agenda, and even puts issues up for a vote. These are my meetings and I resent this, and I have told him, but only after the meetings because I do not want to humiliate him. He occasionally apologizes, but does the same thing at the next meeting. What do you suggest?
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I was at a department meeting, and I was listening and doodling while my manager spoke. I nook a few notes, but that was all I needed. After the meeting, my manager said he saw what I was doing and said I should write down what is said in these meetings. I told him I didn't need to, but he was not pleased. What do you think of his comments?
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It bothers me that my boss always brings his wife to work-related conferences and meetings. It isn't that he just brings her along on trips. He actually brings her into the events. I don't think it is very professional. I thought of mentioning my concerns to his boss. Do you have any advice?
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I am a new manager. At a recent management meeting, the company president came in to make a few remarks. He is not an expert on the issues we were discussing, and his suggestions were useless. However, that did not stop three of the attendees from telling him that his ideas are brilliant. It is not my style to blatantly flatter anyone, and I'm wondering how necessary it really is.
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At our quarterly meeting, one of my colleagues gave a presentation that included overhead projections. On one of his diagrams, I noticed a computational error that changed the accuracy of his conclusion. When I mentioned this in the meeting, I could see him bristle. Afterwards he accused me of hatcheting his presentation. I don't think I did. Was I out of line?
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I asked my manager a question during a meeting, and she said I should know the answer to something as simple as that. I didn't think it was a simple question, and I did not like being put down in front of everyone. I still feel embarrassed and angry. If I go to her, I think she'll give me an even harder time, so how do I deal with this?
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We have management meetings in the early afternoon twice a week. They are long, boring, and repetitive, and they provide about twenty minutes worth of content in two hours. My problem is that I am having a very hard time staying awake in them. Do you have any suggestions?
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It is most annoying to be expected to attend regular meetings when some of the people who really need to be there are rarely present. This makes the meetings a total waste of time. I have voiced this concern to management, and they agree with me, but then do nothing about it. Can anything be done?
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I was put on a task force with four other people, and we are supposed to look at benefit programs. There is one person in the group who comes late to the meetings, hardly does any work, and is quick to make snide comments. We spoke with our manager, but he feels this individual is important for the group. How do we get anything done?
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Our company has several branches between fifty and one hundred miles from the corporate office. As branch managers, we waste many hours going to and from the office to attend meetings, sometimes three times a week. I told the corporate staff they need to schedule more of these meetings on one day, but they never do this. How do I get through to them?
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At the end of a recent meeting, one of my co-workers blurted out that I have not been very effective in carrying out my responsibilities, so her work has suffered. I was caught totally off guard, and then the meeting ended. I spoke with our manager afterwards, but I don't think I had much of an impact. By the way, the employee later apologized for stabbing me in the back. What should I do now?
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Whenever I am at a meeting with my manager, he always has a couple of "friendly insults" about me in front of the others. I don't like this, but it is the only thing I don't enjoy about working with him. I don't feel like creating a problem, so I'm not sure what to do.
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I'm fairly new here, and I was making a presentation in a meeting with some of the other managers when I noticed that two of them were passing notes back and forth, and they seemed to be giggling. It was annoying, but I did not let it interrupt me. Should I say something to them?
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Several months ago, my manager asked me to lead a one-hour discussion for our salespeople. Nine of them attended, and so did my manager. After ten minutes, my manager took over and I was left standing in front like a fool. He just asked me to lead another discussion, and I am wondering if I can tell him how I felt about what he did in the first one.
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I was at a meeting with several other managers today and the senior manager running the meeting attacked one of the others because of a very minor mistake. As the meeting was closing, I mentioned a point that needed further discussion, and he jumped at me and told me I was wrong and declared the meeting over. How do you deal with someone like this?
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One of my fellow managers is known for putting other managers on the spot when they run meetings. I was recently conducting a meeting, and he started asking questions that had nothing to do with the topic. When I answered, he asked more. When he finally stopped, he had sidetracked the meeting for a good fifteen minutes. How do you deal with someone like this?
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When I joined this company in a fairly senior position, the chief operating officer included me in most of the high-level meetings that focused on strategies and planning. For some reason, I am now being left out. When I ask him why, he apologizes and says he meant to include me, but then he does the same thing at the next meeting. What should I do?
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I thought it would be fun to bring an entertainer to one of our company gatherings, and I was referred to a fellow who imitates a well known comic. I gave him information about several of our employees so he could make some fun comments about them, but everything went wrong. He was crass and crude, and several female employees walked out. Now what do I do?
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At a recent meeting, I was interested in the discussion, but I did not see a need to make any comments. After the meeting, my manager sarcastically thanked me for my important contributions. I did not know what to say or how to react. What do you make of this?
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I work at a small organization and have a manager who frequently shows up late, skips or misses appointments, and leaves early. Because he is the founder and president of the organization, it is hard for anyone to hold him accountable. It embarrasses me to cover for him. What can I do?
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Whenever we have a department meeting, our manager puts me on the spot. If I make a presentation, he challenges me with impossible questions. If there is a discussion, he calls on me in the middle and asks a tough question. This is embarrassing and annoying, but I donít know how to get him to stop. What can you suggest?
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I manage a small department, and I attended a meeting with my manager and one of my employees. The three of us were discussing a particular problem, and I gave a summary. When I was done, my employee turned to my manager and said, ďWhat she is trying to say is thisÖ.Ē She then summarized my comments. My description was fine, and I am angry over what she did. What do you think, and what should I do?
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The company paid to send me to a one-day management seminar, and my manager asked me to make a one-hour presentation to the rest of our department afterwards. The problem is that the content of the seminar was either too juvenile or just plain wrong, but the presenter is one of my managerís favorites. Iím concerned about my managerís reaction if I say that the seminar was not very useful. How should I approach this assignment?
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When we have department head meetings, one particular department head always takes shots at me. He does not make direct comments about my work, but he implies that I have failed. He is friendly enough between meetings, but that ends when the meetings start. How should I deal with him?
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We are supposed to make presentations at our department meetings, and there is one person who leaves me out of everything. When he hands out documents, he never has one for me, and he overlooks me if I have questions or want to make comments. I have not seen him do this to anyone else. What should I do?
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I have been hearing complaints about the number of meetings that I hold, but I believe they are important. Nonetheless, I am willing to listen, and I am wondering about ways to make my meetings more effective.
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I am a manager, and whenever I have meetings that include other managers, most of them show up late. I have spoken to them about this, and I donít think itís fair to the others to wait for these stragglers to arrive, but thatís what I end up doing. How can I get them here on time?
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I cannot get my managerís attention. When I meet in his office, he is on his Bluetooth and using his computer. If itís not that, he is taking phone calls and even talking with people who drop by his office. What can I do to have an actual conversation with him?
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I was at a management meeting when one of the other managers said that several major problems have been caused by my employees. When I tried to defend myself and them, he interrupted me several times, and our manager (who was running this meeting) cut me off several times, too. After a few minutes, our manager stopped the argument and said itís time to move on. The meeting continued, but Iím still burning and wonder what to do.
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At a meeting to address improving one department within the company, attended by three of our managers, another staff member and I, the staff member right from the beginning of the meeting launched a personal verbal attack upon me. One manager tried to stop it saying this was a personal matter that should be addressed by just the two of us outside of work hours. Yet the meeting continued with her slandering me and making damaging comments concerning my character and work ethics. One manager said it sounded like she was jealous of my special treatment and he went on to say special treatment occurs everywhere and with anyone and coworkers should not compare. What this staff member was jealous of concerning me is out of my control--it is mandated by my immediate manager due to the circumstances of my duty hours being different each day to accommodate our clients. Many of her insults directed at me were defended by two of my managers. Twice the third manager seems to endorse the other staff member's complaints so I professional gave my reasoning for my actions. For example, the staff member said I take to much time with clients and the third manager agreed, so I explained I felt I was providing thorough and needed information and letting them ask all their questions. Was this okay to explain/defend myself? This coworker was speaking with venom and even throw out mean things (like pointing out a medical condition I have). Should the managers have let this meeting continue when they could never keep her on the focus of the meeting because she kept attacking me?
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I have a manager that often comes in late to our meetings and brings something to eat...just for herself. I've never seen anything like it...she crunches, munches & scrapes the bottom of the cup/bowls, etc while we sit there & watch. Then... she excuses herself to go to the restroom...sometimes multiple times. Again, while we sit there & wait for her. Have you ever seen or heard of anything like this? She is wasting so much of our time. Everyone else in our small group seems to be used to it - I am the newest member of the team and hate to just ask 'what the hell?' In my early days there, I asked another team member if that was the norm, and she said yes - but she didn't understand it. Bringing a beverage, maybe, but to assemble and spread, etc.? Do I sit & say nothing? Do I take something to eat and assemble it myself while waiting to see if it distracts her? Comments?
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