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I think therefore I can

By Tom Powell

I think therefore I can

Meetings. No-one ever tells you about meetings. They’re not a GCSE, you don’t get taught Meeting Etiquette at college, your work induction never covers meeting expectations.


They really should though.


Because for all their ills, meetings are a necessary cog in agency life. Like a million other businesses, we couldn’t operate without them. But if you ever reach even a tepid sense of responsibility at work, here’s the rub.


You’re compelled to attend a succession of presentations, proposals, reviews, catch-ups, the list goes on. Some genuinely illuminating. Some simply instructional. Some make you wish for a change in the law regarding second-degree murder.


And irrespective of the reason for the meeting, the opening salvo will be the same from almost everyone in the room.


“I think.”


Great. Allowing everyone in the room the confidence and freedom to share. Because the last thing we would ever want to do is discourage feedback, opinions or the right to speak up.


But let’s try something. Stop using, “I think” and replace it with “I know”. So that everyone’s input isn’t just opining, it’s that thing we no longer seem to hold dear.




Not what we think, but what we actually know.


This isn’t a rant about age or experience or training. And please don’t be under the impression this is just an affliction of the marketing/advertising/planksswithahairbunwhoapparentlystrategiseforaliving. “I think” is a trend we see everywhere. Panel shows, interviews, Question Time, tweets. 


It’s endemic. And it’s not going away. The next meeting you’re in, count the number of times it’s said. It’s an illuminating exercise.


So let’s use it less. Let’s be the proposers and supporters of knowledge. Let’s make meetings so much quicker.


Well, I think so anyway.