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Happy Hours Are Meetings

Many people ask me how I’m able to attend many events, how I’m so prolific, and how I have time to tweet so much. The answer is pretty simple: I hate meetings.

Truly, I avoid meetings at all costs. It’s practically my mission in life. Luckily I have a career and lifestyle that allows me to do so. And this allows me a lot of time to read, think, and write original material.

But today I had a number of meetings. There was a meeting of our research center based around an intern’s foreign policy talk in an auditorium, an emergency meeting about task forces in my director’s office, and an impromtu meeting of three people in the hallway to talk about websites.

What was interesting about the third meeting was that we stood the entire time, and it took about two minutes – but was no less meaningful than the other two. And that got me thinking – why are meetings typically one hour, sitting down in a room, discussing a list of issues typed on sheets of paper? Really, they don’t have to be at all.

So deconstructing the idea of what a ‘meeting’ is got me thinking that I don’t so much avoid meetings, as avoid useless, boring meetings where nothing of interest to me will get accomplished. As the great business blogger Seth Godin has noted, who decided meetings take an hour anyway?

Lots of people have noted my propensity for attending happy hour on a regular basis. But it’s not all fun and games – often the person or people I’m with have some relevance to my career. And so isn’t hanging out with a socialite blogger over glasses of red wine at Proof in Penn Quarter, or having bourbon and cigars with a fellow Government 2.0 maven at Shelly’s Back Room in downtown DC just my personal way of conducting productive and fun meetings?

Maybe I shouldn’t sell myself short on the CEO route.  Wouldn’t you like to work for a company that let you think about great stuff all day, and handled the ‘meetings’ over a magnum of Cabernet or a casual pool tournament?

Happy hours are meetings. Think about that the next time you ask me about my avid social life – It’s also my avid workaholic lifestyle.

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