It was my first board meeting. I was SURE to impress the board with how organized and ready I was!! This was in the day of phone and straight email contact to set up our meetings… so messages were lost, timing was an issue and last minute changes were out of the question. So… on this grand evening in getting ready, I placed all of the material on the table and decided to pop a bag of popcorn for a snack before they arrived… accidently hitting the microwave for 33 MINUTES instead of 3 minutes and 30 seconds. As I went to let all of them in, the smoke alarms started going off…gray smoke billowing everywhere and then the sound of the fire truck in the background…I’m sure you can imagine the looks on their faces and me…completely red with embarrassment! Yikes… nothing like starting off with your best foot forward!
As an engineering technician, I tend to be the liazon between production managers, engineers (software, hardware, etc.), scientists, and upper level stakeholders. Trying to arrange any type of meeting with so many department heads can be a night mare and always imparitive to the progress of a project. The project I was working on involved redesigning a major flaw in one of our most used products. I was to gather volumes of test data, monitor outcomes, adjust procedures, and then gather everyone together to discuss my findingings. This involved millions of dollars in product displacement and needed to be resolved ASAP. Youv’e heard the term “Hurry up and wait.” My part of the project, under much stress and duress from the team, was completed – however, trying to get the team under one tent took over 3 weeks. Oh, did I mention I was 4 weeks away from delivering my second child?! The day everyone finaly gathered in the clean room to review my findings, my water broke, yes, right then and there (in the clean room, no less). If I would have had DOODLE capabilities back then, I sure in the @#@#@# would have used it!
On the way to a meeting in another office, I remembered that I had forgotten to write the minutes from the last meeting. Fortunately, I traveled by train, so I did “extreme typing” in the train and quickly found a printer at the destination. In the meeting itself, I opened the event with the words, “Here are the minutes from our last meeting, which all of you have probably already read.”
Everyone nodded, which proved to me that no one read the notes, but they didn’t want to admit that. 🙂
As you can see, audacity won, and a little luck is also useful to avert a nightmare… (Translated from German)
My worst meeting nightmare was when I had to schedule a meeting between New York and Qatar. Qatar is 8 hour ahead of us.
The nightmare was the time I accidently put New York Eastern Time Zone.
When it was 9:00 AM EST in New York it was already 4:00 PM Qatar time. I sent out several times not remembering that by 12:00 PM EST everyone in Qatar is home from work, eating dinner. My Qatar colleagues email me back saying…hey I’m in bed sleeping by that time, another said, i’m in my PJ watching TV by that time…it was crazy.
I had to resend another poll but this time starting the meeting at 7:00 AM EST. Then my New York colleagues were like, hey I’m just getting out of bed at that time, or I’m on the subway at 7:00 AM…it was horrible to coordinate but we eventually confirmed the meeting for 8:00 AM EST and 3:00 PM Qatar time….wow….
First week in a new job is always tiring and mine was no different. On the Friday afternoon of what seemed like a very very long week, we had the annual presentation from the IT Director. I promptly fell asleep and slept through at least 20 minutes of the meeting – thankfully no one noticed and enjoyed a highly successful five years in the job, when it could have ended so badly.
Envision 20 committee, some with similar names, all desiring to meet via separate conference calls during one week. I sent out 20 separate emails to each of the committees’ members (using email groups, thank goodness) offering days/time for a call to meet each particular chairman’s schedule. Of course the times overlapped, and I received nearly 300 emails back (my committees range in size from 8 to 25 people) that I had to try to make sense of and schedule the calls. It took hours, and in the end, I invited some people to participate on the wrong call! Doodle to the rescue. One of my committee members let me know about its fantastic scheduling capabilities. I still schedule 20 committee calls, but now it is a breeze.