Are all meetings necessary? 所有的會議都是必要的嗎?

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一項新研究表明,我們參加的會議數量比以往任何時候都多,所以花在聽和說上的時間也比實際工作的時間要多。那麼,這些會議都是有必要開的嗎?開會的目的是什麼?是用來討論工作、做決策?還是與同事建立友好關係、聊天的好時機?「隨身英語」 討論工作會議的三兩事。

Vocabulary: work 詞彙:工作

It’s time for another meeting! If you have a job, the chances are some of your working week will be taken up attending a few of them. You and your colleagues will gather together in a meeting room, be talked at for an hour and come out wondering what was the point of it? Of course, it is sometimes necessary to meet to discuss things, share information, voice your opinion and agree a way forward – but are there any other benefits?

Recent research has suggested that we attend more meeting than ever before – and that’s more time listening and talking than actually doing our jobs. Professor Patrik Hall from the University of Malmo told the BBC that this is partly due to more 「meetings-intense」 roles such as managerial and strategy jobs. These require more meetings with teams and other stakeholders. But, he says, despite there being more of them, “few decisions are made”.

It’s possible that it’s managers on a power trip who set up these meetings – a way of controlling staff, imposing new rules and regulations and asserting their authority. But as Professor Hall points out: “Many managers don’t know what to do,” and when they are “unsure of their role”, they respond by generating more meetings. And to make matters worse, some meetings involve a pre or post-meeting which eats into even more of the working day.

But the researchers from the University of Malmo have found that a meeting can be seen as a form of 『therapy』 – it doesn’t have to have an outcome and doesn’t have to be meaningless. So, if you’re just doodling or glancing at your smartphone as your boss drones on, it’s worth considering that a meeting can be an opportunity to demonstrate your talents, express frustration, question ideas and spend time bonding with your colleagues.

There are a few things to be considered if a meeting is to be a success: it needs an agenda that is adhered to plus an opportunity to discuss any other business, and it should be booked for a short period of time – otherwise the meeting will expand to fit the time that’s been allocated. And, as Professor Hall says, the 「equality」 of participants is important. But I think I just prefer the advice of Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, who urged colleagues to walk out of meetings as soon as it becomes obvious that they are not adding value. “It’s not rude to leave,” he explains. “It’s rude to make someone stay and waste their time.” Right, I’m off!

詞彙表

colleague 同事
talk at someone 滔滔不絕地(對某人)說,(不顧對方感受)而不停地說
voice one’s opinion 發表某人的觀點
role 職責,崗位
managerial 管理上的
strategy 策略
stakeholder 有利益相關的人
power trip 自我膨脹,享受權利帶來的喜悅
staff 員工
impose 強制實行
assert authority 維護權威
therapy 治療,療法
doodling (心不在焉時)隨手亂畫
drone on 喋喋不休
talent 才能
frustration 挫敗感
bond 緊密團結,建立關係
agenda 會議議程
adhered to 遵守,堅持
participant 參會者,參加者
add value 增加價值

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. According to research, what’s one of the reasons why we have more meetings these days?

2. According to the article, how do some managers respond to being unsure about their role?

3. True or false? A meeting is a chance to bond with your colleagues and doesn’t have to have an outcome.

4. Name something that can help make a meeting a success.

5. Why might a meeting 『expand’?

2.請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單詞填入句子的空格處。

1. I’m _______ a conference about climate change in London next week – do you want to join me?

doodling             bonding            attending         talked at

2. My maths teacher has such a boring voice. She just _______ about algebra and how great it is!

droning on         drones on          drones at         droned off

3. I like to go for a drink with my _______ after work – it’s a good chance for us all to moan about the boss.

participants        colleagues         bonding           stakeholders

4. Yusuf really showed off his _______ in the kitchen by baking the most amazing chocolate cake!

talents               frustration          authority           doodling

5. If this trade deal is going to work, you must _______ the terms of the contract you signed.

adhered to         adhere on          adhere to         adhering to

答案

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。  

1. According to research, what’s one of the reasons why we have more meetings these days?
There are more 「meetings-intense」 roles, such as managerial and strategy jobs, which require more meetings.

2. According to the article, how do some managers respond to being unsure about their role?
According to Professor Patrik Hall, when managers are unsure of their role, they respond by generating more meetings.

3. True or false? A meeting is a chance to bond with your colleagues and doesn’t have to have an outcome.
True. A meeting can be an opportunity to bond with your colleagues and it doesn’t have to have an outcome.

4. Name something that can help make a meeting a success.
The article mentioned having an agenda, keeping meetings short and having 「equality of participants」 – so everyone has a chance to take part.

5. Why might a meeting 『expand’?
A meeting might run for longer than necessary just to fit the time it is booked for.

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思恰當的單詞填入句子中的空格處。 

1. I’m attending a conference about climate change in London next week – do you want to join me?

2. My maths teacher has such a boring voice. She just drones on about algebra and how great it is!

3. I like to go for a drink with my colleagues after work – it’s a good chance for us all to moan about the boss.

4. Yusuf really showed off his talents in the kitchen by baking the most amazing chocolate cake!

5. If this trade deal is going to work, you must adhere to the terms of the contract you signed.