The Lazy Designer

Meeting Etiquette

So way back when I was involved in meetings a disturbing trend was beginning to develop. Now its no secret that I don’t like people using their portable electronic devices (cellphones, pds, ipods, et cetera) when engaged in person-to-person social interactions but the use of such devices during meetings could actually send me into a rage.

And it was starting to happen all the time.

Ten people in a room discussing a cool feature, or trying to plan a demo and half of them had their noses buried in their portable devices catching up on email, or messages, or whatever. When I was working on Neverwinter Nights we only had had a handful of meetings a week, and seldom needed to revisit decisions four or five times but on later projects I was finding that we were having a handful of meetings a DAY and often the meetings were repeats, going over decisions that had already been made.

Now this isn’t entirely the fault of using these distraction devices but I can’t help but think that people were leaving the meetings not entirely sure of what had been decided — because they weren’t paying attention. I know there were more than a few times where someone senior on the project came into my office asking why we had decided X,Y,Z when they had actually been present for the meeting!

So, as a shout out to those of you new to industry — don’t do this. Multi-tasking, especially this kind of multi-tasking, is highly inefficient. And besides, isn’t the reason we all entered the game industry was to be actually involved? Not just treading water?

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.


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