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How To Start A Business Meeting When The Apocalypse Is Underway
It’s ten minutes until your team’s weekly meeting, and you, the team leader, just saw a news alert that the dinosaurs have returned. Uh oh, that’s not good! Must be the apocalypse. Here’s how to ensure your weekly sync isn’t derailed by the cataclysmic end of civilization.
Send an email
Reach out to your staff and let them know that your daily stand-up is still on, despite the difficult circumstances — attendance remains mandatory for anyone who has not been eaten or maimed by a dinosaur.
Try using this email copy:
“Hope this email finds you well! There have been some questions about whether our meeting is still on after news broke that velociraptors, brontosauruses, and stegosauruses have returned and are brutally devouring all humankind. You may be asking, ‘Is this a sign of the end-times and, if so, is my attendance at the meeting still required?’
“Yes to both. If you need to take a moment to collect yourself beforehand, please do so. We can’t let dinosaurs mess with our quarterly targets!”
Preempt Carol’s worries by sending her a private message asking if she’ll take notes during today’s meeting to stop her from Googling if it hurts to be eaten by a dinosaur.
Start on time
Punctuality is of the utmost importance. There’s no time to waste with small talk, especially after learning that a meteorite is hurtling toward Earth and the oceans have started to boil. Time is money, people!
Acknowledge that life on earth may experience some “disruption”
Give people space. Use the word “honour” a lot. As in, “I want to honour the fact that some of you may be nervous because of the dinosaurs stomping down Main St., the meteorite heading toward Earth, or the cauldron-like oceans.” Or else try, “I want to honour we’ve just heard that a billionaire’s secret supply of autonomous, killer robots has been released from their bunker and are flying to major metropolitan areas, shrieking ‘Kill! Kill!’”
Lead with vulnerability
Share that you’re worried you won’t get to your underground bunker with the other company execs before the robots and dinosaurs team up with the flesh-eating zombies that, word has it, have begun rising from the grave. Bond with your team, even though you know there are private guards waiting to escort you – and only you – to a secure, underground bunker, just as soon as the team aligns on a Q3 strategy to capture a greater market share.
Ask your team to be present
This means everyone’s phones should be away. No phone calls to tell spouses and children they’re loved. Manage your personal life on your personal time, people!
Reprimand Carol if she starts reporting that Twitter is saying the flesh-eating zombies are being resurrected by the aliens whose ships have just appeared above the Earth.
Keep the discussions on the task at hand
Coworkers may start wondering, “How should I protect my family,” “Should we flee to the hills,” and “What does it feel like to be abducted by aliens?” Remind them to remain focused on the important business tasks at hand, especially since there’s no time to hide from the dinosaurs, robots, zombies, aliens, and climate disasters before they reach the office park anyway.
End with a clear next step
Let’s stick a pin in it for now and circle back once we survive the various manifestations of the apocalypse bearing down on us. Carol, please stop searching “Zombie-decapitation, how to” on YouTube and schedule a follow-up meeting for 8:30 am on Monday, okay? Okay.
Survivor, Shrill (the book and the show), Beth Picken’s Make Your Art No Matter What