At every meeting there must be a Central Issue.

Should it happen that there were none, be it because of somebody's negligence or because of stupidity of the Organizers, then within the first ten minutes a Participant would stand up and say

Let us define the Central Issue first

and everybody would agree.

Usually, however, the Central Issue is carefully planned in advance, even though, as a rule, not all Participants take part in the planning. Some are intentionally kept in the dark and later become targets of derision.

At some meetings the Central Issue is well known in advance but may not be mentioned. These are the

Meetings About Something Else

like in 'At 3:30 pm I expect all of you in the Conference Room for a critical review of the Amazon Black Maggot Copulation Behaviour. Don't be late. The Boss'.

It turns out that every important meeting is actually a Meeting About Something Else (grant money cuts, fight between bosses, salary cuts, staff cuts, ... or any combination thereof).

Occasionally, there are two Central Issues. In this case, there is only one solution: they have to fight and one of them must die (since the fighting usually takes a long time, don't forget your lunch/dinner bag).

Before the fight, each Participant should mentally run through the following check-points:


  • Am I aware of Issue A ?
  • Am I aware of Issue B ?
  • Am I aware of the fact that the Real Issue is a different one (C) ?


  • Do I support Issue A ?
  • Do I support Issue B ?
  • Do I support the Real Issue C ?
  • Do I support an altogether different Issue (D, E, ...) ?

Each box can be either checked or unchecked regardless of the others.
That makes for up to 128 distinct types of Participants.

Not bad for a very plain meeting!

This reflection was written aboard a train, returning back home from a meeting on Contrast Agents for MRI Angiography which was a typical Meeting About Something Else.

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Copyright ©2005 Stanislav Sykora    DOI: 10.3247/elcl08.008 Designed by Stan Sýkora