They all feel it when they walk in the room. They all feel warm, and a little testy, like they’re filing into the dining room for Thanksgiving. Then they sit down, introduce each other, tell each other which branch of your multinational company they all hail from, then the meeting will start.
The speeches flow a little easier and the Powerpoint presentations have a little more meaning it seems. Bad jokes are laughed at with more playful groans. No one will get very flirty at all, but when there’s reason to disagree, tempers flare like things have been building for years, even though you all just met.
You’re second cousin to Jennifer in Accounting from Miami, who is the half-sister by secret family to Roger from Anaheim sales, who is first cousin to Pam, VP out of Flagstaff, who’s the father (doesn’t know it) to Dewey, the exec assistant for Mr. Hollis, CFO, who is an uncle to George, marketing manager for the Toledo campus, and George is first cousin to Felicia, a creative from Chicago.
Not a one of you knows, but all of you feel it. Every single one of you feels that same blood flowing through your veins.
By the end of the meeting, very little will have been accomplished, but it will feel like something necessary happened, something important. You’ll feel like this meeting was a long time coming, and you’ll feel exhausted, like you’ve been torn open and emptied out in front of the people who know exactly what you’ve got inside of you. All over the course of looking at some pie charts about projected staff cuts to be made in first quarter 2013.
When you get back to your hotel, send an email to the participants telling them what a great meeting you had. Roger from Anaheim will reply in agreement. Jennifer in accounting will concur. Dewey the executive assistant for Mr. Hollis will send everyone all of the pictures he took of everybody, and Mr. Hollis will post the big group photo on his Facebook page.
Wait a few weeks before sending out feelers for a meeting reunion six months from now. Everyone will be on board, but if you do it too soon it will be weird.
Happy Everyone At The Big Business Meeting Is Related But Doesn’t Know It Day!