The 5-minute meeting and the end of the phrases we all love to hate in Corporate America

The Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article about 4 companies – spanning from digital marketing to software development – who had all embraced the 5-minute meeting as the norm! Imagine that – no more 30 (or more) people crammed into a tight conference room, several more on Webex or Zoom barely hearing what is going on, and everyone pretending to stay interested while simultaneously multi-tasking or wishing they were dead through the 60 minutes.

But the 5-minute meeting, if it gets to widely adopted will change all that. And before this meeting goes viral, I want to pay homage to 10 of the most reviled phrases used in meetings before they go the way of the dodo as there will be no time to use these anymore. So here is my top 10 and an explanation of what I interpret that phrase to really mean.

Having said that”: Interpretation – I – Mr. Genius wants to show my composite view of the world by simultaneously straddling two diametrically opposite points of view. #Really. My first point of view was incomplete, incoherent and unintelligible and now I want to extend that misery to the opposite pole. Please don’t make me stop.

There you go”: Interpretation – I neither understood what you just said nor will I likely fathom what’s going to come out of your mouth in the future. But to keep face, I am going to ask you to keep going wherever it is you are going. And will do so with a straight face, as the hollowness inside my brain needs to be successfully hidden from public view.

No offense to anyone”: Interpretation – I am going to offend everyone instantly. The audience members who were asleep or absorbed watching the ‘Game of Thrones’ on their iPhone X are all alert and awake ready to be offended at the drop of the first word.

Let me take this offline”: Interpretation – I just awarded myself an extra five minutes to continue talking drivel, since everyone is so looking forward to sprinting out of this dialogue, that they are suddenly more generous since they know the end is near (and nearness is all relative as you will find out).

Going forward”: Interpretation – I have no idea how I got here, but it has not been a smooth ride (unless I was totally inebriated in which case it was a silky-smooth ride). I am hazarding that some changes are needed in the future, and I going to dribble some niceties. Please ignore for your own safety.

At the end of the day”: Interpretation – I can barely manage to get through an hour without severe bowel irritation, how am I going to manage a day. But if I somehow make it, let me pretend that the day was fulfilling and successful and make some bombastic and clueless assertions.

With all due respect”: Interpretation – I am the smartest ass in the room – nay in the company – and I am going to pretend for a second that you are in the same league, to lull you into complacency, and then take you out to dry. The game, Set and Match!

Crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s: Interpretation – Dude, I barely made a passing grade in English grammar, and T’s and I’s were my Achilles Heel. I literally need to check my T’s and I’s before I goto bed. Or use Grammarly!

Paradigm Shift: Interpretation – I am coming out of my pot stupor and the world is shifting around me. Let’s hope my boss is not in the room so my blank stare or compulsive wink is not misconstrued as an unwanted solicitation!

Drill down”: Interpretation – We have another 55 minutes to go and I have exhausted my neocortex. There’s only one way to go from here – down. Why wait? Let’s take the highway to hell. And I am driving without a seat belt so hold on!

And a bonus one

My bandwidth is limited”: Interpretation – Between my 10 coffee breaks, lunch hour and an open-eyed siesta to fool even the savviest – there is not much time left for me to look at your marketing plan. Marketing – who cares about that anyway. #Boom



    Empathy, Education, Empowerment

    Mine is a typical Indian immigrant story: an Engineer who became an Engineering Manager, who grew antsy and segued into Product Management then rose to VP and SVP. During those years I fancied I was innovating and experimenting, but in reality I was wearing a corporate straitjacket. Constrained by my industry’s insular mindset, I became a slave to the definition of my job. Inevitably, I ended up dissatisfied. So, I did something unusual for a man in my position: I stopped to reflect. I searched my life and talents for what was fulfilling and had purpose. I discovered I enjoyed storytelling to promote understanding. I loved mentoring and helping people become the best version of themselves. Importantly, I realized I was still passionate about the tech industry, particularly the issues surrounding privacy and ethics. Today, I’m pursuing my passions. I like to think of myself as an accelerator of technology and positivity. I’m the COO of UberKnowledge, bringing cybersecurity awareness and training to demographics that are underrepresented in the industry. I speak at conferences highlighting the need for a sharper focus on the ethics surrounding the technology industry.  I write articles and blog posts using analogy to simplify technology trends and complex topics like AI and IoT. I host podcasts with CISOs and other industry experts. The purpose of these is not to sell snake oil or products but to bridge the chasm between security vendors and customers so that the real problems can be solved to make the world a safer place. Underpinning all of these efforts is my belief that life’s purpose for us all is simply to connect. And the best way to do that is through generous and positive gestures.