Experience in Vietnam: A very different meeting

I am an official who has worked for 20 years and attended various meetings.

I always bring a newspaper, magazine and charge my phone before going to the meeting room so that I can read the news or surf the web.

I have developed this bad habit due to the nature of the previous meetings I’ve attended.

The invitation says 8am but only 80 percent of those invited have arrived by 8:30.

The most important people usually arrive at the earliest by 9am with various excuses.

What to do with one precious hour spent waiting?

When the meetings starts, 80 percent the time is spent listening to those important people ‘lecture’ from micro to macro.

Even if I try to concentrate, I can only listen for 10-15 minutes.

What to do during the rest of the time?

Another common occurrence is that the most awaited speaker arrives late.

After being introduced, he or she says all the important things in a short time and quickly leaves, saying:

“Sorry, I’m so busy.

I have another important meeting after this.”

However, a recent meeting at my company’s headquarters in Hanoi has left a deep impression on me.

Shortly before it took place, I learned that there would be a deputy minister participating.

Thinking that a government member like him would be occupied with different affairs, I did not prepare anything.

The meeting was supposed to start at 9am but by that time, only half turned up.

At 9.05am, the deputy minister arrived and we started calling the rest to come.

I had a phone in my hand and was about to visit my favorite sites as soon when the deputy minister’s speech began.

But no, after being introduced, the deputy minister gently asked everyone to speak up and share their thoughts or difficulties related to work.

Everyone looked at each other with abashed eyes.

As the first one shyly spoke up, the deputy minister listened undividedly, noted down what was said and asked for clarification on some points.

When it came to my turn, due to my lack of preparation, I gave unorganized ideas and beat around the bush.

Despite this, he kept listening to all of my urgent matters from work.

Colleagues who talked after me became more enthusiastic and continued to mention more problems they had encountered.

At 1pm, the meeting chairperson announced a lunch break.

However, the deputy minister told him to let everyone have a say.

At 2pm, when every participant had spoken up, he started to talk, explain and respond to some of the issues raised and proposed possible resolutions for the remaining ones.

He asked if anyone had anything to say before taking off.

Only now did he looked at his watch and act as if he was busy, opposite of when he sat down and took time listening to us speak.

That day, I was sad because I hadn’t had a chance to read the news or surf the net during the meeting.

However, I also felt an indescribable joy, a hope that after 20 year working in a company:

My small idea was heard and listened to by a big boss.

By THANH SON

Source: Tuoi Tre Online

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