This meeting was performed by 13 students and a painting professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design on May, 27th, 2014. The setting and props were created from a collection of eye-witness accounts. The script was developed through extensive first-hand, corporate insurance experience. This meeting is designed to be performed by any group of people, in any setting.
A Business Meeting, May 27th, 2014
Physical set up:
-A table big enough for six to eight people
-At least 12 chairs, only 6 or 7 of which fit around the table
-Extra chairs (the more, the better) line the perimeter of the space. Best if they don’t match and some are really tall while others are really short
-A speaker phone for the center of the table
-A side table with some open food container like a Dunkin Donuts box (not full, just a half a donut or no more than 3 donut holes, preferably a day old) or a big bag of chips, mostly gone, and folded over. An old cake knife, with a few small paper plates to suggest something happened a few days ago, but no one cleaned the knife.
-Someone who is going to act like it is freezing in the room. They will sit at the table. Of course.
-Several people who will sit in the outer row of chairs and say nothing. They will sit there even if there are chairs open at the table. Two will be very involved in whatever is on their cell phone screen. Some may have laptops or tablets.
-One person sits at the head of the table with paper, laptop, coffee cup, and other things that claim more space than anyone else.
-One person who shows up very early. Embarrassingly so. They actually have to get up and go check to see if the meeting is happening. But they staked out their spot at the table and have a company-issued laptop, so it’s all good.
-A pair who come in talking about a social thing, sit down and continue talking. They stop so you think they are done, and then they start again.
-Someone who arrives late, drops a few things, and shuffles to the last open chair at the table. Nothing about their entrance in subtle.
-Someone who sits at the table and is in a very cheery mood
Person #1 has nothing to say other than “it’s freezing in here” every couple of minutes
All the #2 People also don’t have anything to say
Person #3 is running the meeting
Person #4 offers a few comments that are followed by silence
Person #5 has the facts
Person #6 and Person #7 say the smartest things
Person #8 has a few inane things to say
Person 1: It’s freezing in here. Is anybody else cold? Hugs arms together and shrugs shoulders
Person 3: Ok everyone, let’s get started. You all got the pre-reading material so I am going to assume you read it and we aren’t going to have to go through it line by line. We have a couple of things to cover, so let’s start with the update on yesterday’s briefing.
Person 8: Did you send the agenda yesterday or was that this morning?
Person 3: (glares) I sent it last week. So anyway, I walked the senior team through the new platform. The loved it. They absolutely loved it. So that was great. I mean, I just started this job and already I have a home run. So it was a good day. Really really glad they liked it. I was worried. But yeah, it looked good and they said I had really done a great job with it.
Person 7: (after a pause) Did they ask who else worked on it… like before you got here?
Person 3: Hmm? No. No one really was going in that direction so I just kept them focused on the demo
Person 5: Do you want to talk about next steps then? We have an S.O.W from the agency to start Phase 2 work. But Procurement wants to know if Finance signed off on the budget. We have a lot of invoices from the first phase that we haven’t paid yet. So we’re getting pressure to clean that up because Oracle is closing at 3 on Friday.
Person 6: And the agency is saying they aren’t doing any more work on this until we catch up. On the money we owe…
Person 3: What? Are you saying they are saying they aren’t going to keep working on this project? After all we have paid them so far? Is that what they’re saying?
Person 5: Well, we owe them about $100grand. Remember when we needed them to rebuild the redirects that had been programmed by the other agency that stopped working with us because we dropped them from the preferred vendor list? They really saved us on that. And then the fix that we asked them to do over Easter weekend? We would have been S.O.L. and in deep shit. Seriously.
Person 4: Yeah. We would have been in trouble on that one
Person 6: Don’t forget the weekly meetings we’ve required them to attend with the Brand team. Those are half day meetings, with four senior agency people in the room and two on the phone. Average billable is $200 an hour times six weeks. That’s more than $20grand just in meetings about the logo. And we asked them to do about twice as many SME (pronounced “smee”) reviews than we said we would need. So that added expense as well.
Person 3: Yeah, but they aren’t going to keep soaking us. I’m not going to pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep working on this thing. We could do this ourselves. Why do we need them? We just need to hire a bunch of people.
Person 4: Can we just string them along for a few more months? You know, just drag our feet on paying the bill?
Person 8: Wait. Were we supposed to call in to a conference call for this? I think this was supposed to be a webex…
Person 1: God, I am freezing. Did someone crank the thermostat?
Person 5: (Ignoring 4, 8 and 1) The P.O. on the first S.O.W. expired in April. If we can’t get Phase 2 funding, we could try to re-open the first S.O.W. and use it to pay the money them. But it’s not a best practice.
Person 3: There is no way I am going to get the OK for another S.O.W.
Person 6: But I thought you said the presentation went well. If everybody loved the new platform why would continued funding be a problem?
Person 5: Do they realize we don’t have the expertise inhouse? We would have to outsource the tech to ZenWaaah.
Person 3: Doubt it. We all got our S.G. and A. targets.
Complete silence. Even all the #2 people look up.
Person 4: S.G. and A? What’s that?
Person 3: (glares) S.G. and A. Our expenses. You know…our costs?
Person 8: Hope everyone got a target. Everyone knows Marketing is bloated. Or what about HR? They work like five hours a day. Blow-ted.
Person 4: Umm I think we were supposed to call in so Dave could join us.
Person 5: Reaches for the phone. Starts dialing. Does anyone have the passcode?
Person 4: Yeah, you ready? It’s 2999 4722267 325 148333
Person 5: Did you say it was three threes or four threes?
Person 4: three threes then 2468357900000 4
You hear someone clearing their throat, or a dog barking.
Dave: Hello? Oh are you guys there? I was wondering.
Person 3: Right. So what else do we have to talk about today?
Dave: I just wanted everyone to know that Ariba will be shut down for maintenance tonight. eService is slow and STIN is saying they can’t do anything about it so do not call. Has something to do with virtual machines. And I am also having trouble with my live stream.
A few #2s look up.
Person 3: Well I hope you get that sorted out. Anything else, anyone?
Person 6: We have an intern coming in for the summer.
Person 7: Great – maybe we can get them to clean that cake knife.