MY Hines

Why to dress like a hockey goalie before going to a meeting

Posted on: January 15, 2010

After a week of having lots of back-to-back meetings on multiple days, my warning to nonprofit techies out there – get yourself a facemask, pads, a huge stick, a blocker, a catcher and all other things that a hockey goalie wears when they hit the ice – before you go to a meeting. You will find in ways, you will need all the protection that you can get. There is nothing wrong with those in meetings with you, but my experience is that they have no idea how it is in your seat. (Yes, I realize that I”m combining my job with my love of watching hockey, but it’s my blog and this is what is on my mind tonight!)

Goalie Interference is the best way to describe the most common thing that happens to me during a meeting – most often a meeting that might not even necessarily be a meeting about technology. How many have heard the phrase, “While we have you here, we have a computer question that you can answer for us?”  I think I would rather face a 50 foot slapshot than field the next several sentences that come after that phrase!

It is not that I don’t understand what the person who says is doing. They may have forgotten to mention something to you sooner and now that they see you, they remember what they needed to discuss with you. It may be that this just occurred before the meeting that you just haven’t heard about. Either way, I understand that person saying that phrase – but it doesn’t make it any easier for me when the conversation continues.

Often, I prepare my mind for a meeting. There are just too many things in there to not prepare for a meeting. (Who wants to be prepared to talk about SharePoint and find out that you are going to talk about website design? – so preparing is a necessary step before a meeting.) So when that phrase starts – and I can normally tell as soon as I hear “Now that we have…” – my mind is taken off the topic of the meeting and being pulled somewhere else. That shift is as dramatic as going from Office 2003 to Office 2007 – you just aren’t talking about the same thing any longer.  It takes me personally a while to recover from the shift and by then, they are already explaining the issue, problem, or possibly new project. Now you are behind and you really wish that you could just cover your face – with a facemask.

Then you realize that you have to respond to the question, issue or project that was just brought forth – yep, sudden death shootout time. I would love to say that I can answer anything, but I know that I do not know enough to answer or respond all the time. It’s time to get ready to kick that puck away to the netting – deflect – or just do anything to handle the issue in the most nonspecific way as possible.  I try never to offer a solution off the top of my head without saying that I have look into it and I do not want to give a timeline ever.

I also want people to know that they are doing this. I honestly today asked if I could get my goalie mask out today if there were more things for me to find out about. I said this humorously (at least I believe so because people chuckled.) Hockey is a team sport so the more people you make aware that this often happens to you during meetings, you start to create defensemen to help you out. Let them take on the big time shooters and block some shots for you. Saves you the trouble (and bruises!) in the long run.

I”m not quite sure what color of hockey pads I want to buy. I’m trying to find out if they sell pink ones. I think pink would be a great color on me…

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