Saturday, August 22, 2009

What sort of Meeter are you?

A little tongue-in-cheek but worth a read:

Take the maximum allotted time for the meeting, add 15 per cent for every person from India present to a maximum of three, and 20 per cent for each Westerner to a maximum of two.

Deduct two-point-five per cent for each Hong Konger and five per cent for every Filipino, Sri Lankan or Indonesian attendee. (For people of other cultural backgrounds, you have to do your own research.)

The meeting I had just been at started with six Hong Kongers, one Sri Lankan, and a Filipino.

So the sum was 60 minutes minus 25 per cent, taking us down to 45 minutes.

But just as we were starting, a European arrived, pushing the estimate back up to 55 minutes.

At first I was skeptical, but the girls’ system turned out to be remarkably accurate: it WAS 55 minutes.

One committee on which I used to sit lost its token Westerner, and meetings DID finish 20 per cent earlier than usual. Then a Canadian joined us, and meetings went back to their previous length.
Why does it work? To generalize absurdly, Westerners are critical thinkers who see meetings as democratic events at which they can contribute to more or less every item on the agenda.

Indians also like to talk. They come from a society where debating is a popular pastime, since watching Indian TV has the same fun quotient as being waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay.

Hong Kongers are busy people who don’t like meetings, but they are polite, so make the minimal number of comments to show they are present.

Filipinos, Sri Lankans and others stay silent because they loathe meetings so much they are not mentally present, being deep in fantasy worlds.

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