Lessons from TV

The current series of Mad Men goes from strength to strength.  This week’s episode (and I won’t spoil it for anyone who has yet to catch up with SkyPlus) was breathtaking.  And last week’s was a subtly pitched lesson in the politics of feminism at work (how else would she have made Partner ?)

The one thing that does not hold up in the show is the length of the meetings.  The characters go into a meeting.  They present the work.  The client rejects it or buys it.  The meeting ends (in about 3 minutes  – Don likes to know he isn’t wasting his time). 

They have a partners meeting.  The agenda takes 4 minutes to run through.  Everyone leaves (or it goes on for slightly longer in certain special cases which we may all be familiar with in one form or another) .

This may seem like a ridiculous thing to raise – after all pinpoint accuracy is not the point of the show (although the horror raised in a recent episode at the idea that a client might only pay for the work that the agency had done, as opposed to the full 15% commission (plus production mark-ups), certainly rang true.)  I raise it because the idea of such short meetings, where you say what you need to say and then move on, fills me with envy.  Of course the real reason that the TV show only shows short meetings is because showing longer ones would be boring.  THAT’S MY POINT.

If you can do it in 20 minutes, why schedule an hour ?  If you can’t do it in 20 minutes then it’s probably too complicated and you should simplify it until you can. 

There was a fad for meetings without seats a few years ago.  The idea was that this would force shorter meetings.  At 5 foot 2 inches I was never a fan of this as it tended to mean that I got a sore neck from looking up at people.  There must be another technique out there that could save us from the 3, 4, 5 hour meeting ?

If you agree with me you could try this, or this.  Or in this weather you could try a meeting outside?

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