Crowe’s Laws of Meetings

How Volunteer Organizations (Don’t) Work

  1. Meetings always start ten minutes late. Nothing can be done about it.
  2. Evening meetings finish at ten o'clock — and no earlier. Should a meeting continue past that time, nothing useful will be accomplished.
  3. It is easier to criticize someone else's suggestion or someone else's work than to come up with your own suggestions or to do your own work — and, at meetings, it looks like the same amount of work on your part.
  4. It is preferable to try to do someone else's job rather than your own.
  5. No work is actually done at meetings. Work is done outside of meetings; reports on work done are given at meetings. No one can tell the difference.
  6. Reports that say something is "in the works" or that something will be done shortly really mean that something hasn't been done, and probably won't be done, either. Specific dates for completion will always be wrong.
  7. You should take yourself less seriously than you do your work. Almost no one does this.
  8. Talk of impeachment is only a serious threat if it persists over an extended period.
  9. The best way to campaign for a future position is to do your present job well. Few realize this.
  10. You should receive a reward from your work — be it enjoyment, money or fulfillment. If this is not happening, get out of there now. True altruism is rare; what passes for it simply rationalizes masochism and mistreatment.
  11. Every crisis, no matter how large or small, receives an equal amount of panic.
  12. Productivity is inversely proportional to the number of people working on the same project in the same room at the same time.
  13. Never say in ten words what you can say in fifty.
  14. Constitutions and by-laws are important inasmuch as they are followed, which is hardly ever.
  15. The more you pester your membership to participate, or to donate money or time, the less likely they are to respond. Fighting apathy turns people off.
Copyright © 1992, 1997, 2002 Jonathan Crowe