Death by Meeting

Long business meetings, particularly those where you sit around the table and talk to a telephone speaker, drive me completely insane. Now, I'm not placing blame on any individual involved. And, honestly, we have to share information so it seems like a good idea to have a meeting. But in practice, I find myself completely annoyed in most meetings. What is it that makes it so hard for me? Just last week I sat through a lecture that was nearly 2.5 hours and I didn't feel as much pain as my 2 hour meeting today. The lecture was something I paid for and went to because I wanted to hear the theories of the speaker. This meeting today was a lot of "here's what happened" and "here's what we need to do" kind of detail. Is that it? Details? Or are we just plain old not good at using the time the way we should (myself included?)?

So, as I was writing this post, I Googled "death by meeting" and discovered that Patrick Lencioni wrote a book by that name about this very subject. This website has a nice, quick PDF graphic based on that book that outlines the types of meetings with suggested lengths of time and actions. Maybe I need to read this book. I also ran across this advice at The Daily Mind, a delightful blog of "Eastern wisdom to make the daily grind more meaningful." The Daily Minder suggest a state of mindfulness in all of his suggestions.

I'm feeling a little more hopeful now. First of all, I know it isn't just me. Apparently many businesses suffer the same ailment. Secondly, I have a few easy mindful strategies for meetings - either say nothing or get engaged being the two that I can remember the easiest.

What I wonder: How do you not only make it through, but make the most of meetings? Are there alternatives to marathon info dump meetings?