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Meetings of death
Good gracious … we have so many meetings at the moment that I barely manage to get my lunch-break. If I take lunch-break I won’t answer emails, or I answer them during the meetings, or in the evenings. I am currently trying the not working in the evenings or on weekends thing … and I am wondering why we have long meetings where people basically just repeat what other people have said about five times in a row. It hurts my brain.
I have recently had meetings with colleagues who just schedule their meetings for half an hour. I love this! I think this should be the standard for 1-2-1 meetings with the exception of meetings that have a pastoral or mentoring element to them.
So yeah for half hour meetings!
The other type of meeting I have become very fond off and drag my poor interns and colleagues into are walking meetings. These are ideal for The Brain. Also if I suspect some writing down needs to happen at some point, working in the Westend of Glasgow is great, the parks have benches or if it gets too cold or wet you can sit in the beautiful Kibble Palace (and there is a coffee cart right next to it).
So yeah for walking meetings!
Video-chats. Working from home video chats have become more regular. I love them. I hate speaking to people on the phone, so much goes missing there. All the non-verbal cues, face expressions … that’s missing. So much better via Skype.
However, if you need more bonding or if you are someone who is really emphatic and the dynamic created by a physical meeting is something that informs your decision making and cognition as much as the words said, video chats can still feel a bit as if a significant part of the information you rely on is not communicated.
So maybe (but still much better than phone calls or emails) for Video-Chats
Sanity coffees. You might have heard of the Swedish Fika Culture (in Scotland we would say: let’s meet for a cuppa*) this has been my saving grace, my sanity monitor, my project generator, my network builder, my friends-maker for years. During our PhD my friend and I met regularly to moan about supervisors, the cut-backs in academia in our final year and what that means for our future, the darn methodology chapter, and all things related to life in general. In work, this is the space where you can be honest, you are usually off campus (but this is mainly because the coffee on campus is pretty dire!), you get informal mentoring, and learn how to mentor. A cuppa creates breathing space. It’s a time where all the politics which are part of being in academia are left at the door. It’s the Switzerland of academia. It’s an amnesty for honesty. As you can see big fan of a cuppa here.
A cuppa: the holy grail of meetings
*cuppa = cup of tea/coffee