Business Tips: How to Survive Meetings and Make You Look Smart Out There


A hardship destined for Japanese workers

You won’t read to the end of this article because the average human attention span is down to only eight seconds. It’s one second shorter than that of goldfish. I remember I read many articles mourning over the short human attention span when the above survey result was released some years ago. Today, it’s not about human attention span but about meetings that I hate. I don’t mean I hate unproductive meetings. I hate them because meetings themselves are basically unproductive.

As a hardship destined for workers in Japan, I’ve endured a lot of meetings. In addition, we spend a lot of time to prepare meeting materials. What is even worse, a preparatory meeting is sometimes held beforehand. There may be more poor people who have to hold a pre-preparatory meeting. Anyway, we should limit meeting time to eight seconds for productivity.

Tricks to appear smart in meetings

Of course, holding a meeting within eight seconds is just an extreme argument, but time consciousness is important. The major purpose of a meeting is consensus-building. That would not be realized without attendees’ attention. Once I thought only Japanese workers must be victimized at many meetings, but later learned the same tragedies were happening all over the world. It is Sarah Cooper who told me how to survive meetings. Her article “10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings” is really encouraging by telling me “You are not alone,” though the question remains: why has this problem not been solved yet?

Wing Armchair (Left) Splinter Armchair (Right)

Another trick to survive meetings

Unfortunately, CondeHouse, like many other companies, has a lot of meetings, too many from my point of view. Most of the meetings are set to 30 minutes, which is good, but most of them are likely to be longer. In such a prolonged meeting, her trick No.4: “Nod continuously while pretending to take notes” is recommended, by the way. Having said that, I think we’re still lucky because we’re a furniture manufacturer. All of our meeting rooms are equipped with our comfortable tables and chairs. The same as the 10 tricks, they could help you at meetings. Why don’t you buy some for your meeting rooms? In that case, you will have to be careful not to fall asleep in our chair, though.

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

Photo Credit: