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5 Foolproof Ways to Avoid the “When is This Over?” Glance

How, during a meeting, do you check what time it is without the other person thinking you’re bored?

That’s got to be the most awkward glance ever.  Even more awkward than the, ‘Was that you?‘ glance you get in an elevator.

If you glance down during a meeting, it’s as if you’re saying, “Why are you so boring?  Why am I here?  Why are you here?  I can’t even stand to listen to you.”

You can try to cover it up with the classic, “I have another meeting…” OR, “Wow!  The time has flown!’

But there’s no real recovery. Especially when you’re only 10 minutes in to an hour-long meeting.  The damage is done.  Irreparable.  Any good you hoped would come out of that meeting left with the glance.

The Damaging Downward Glance

The glance at your watch is damaging because you’ve devalued the person. And nobody wants to be devalued or criticized or condemned.  Everybody wants to feel important, that they bring some value to the table beyond filling the space before your next meeting.

But the reality is that you may another commitment.  And your current cup of coffee can’t go on forever.  So how do you avoid the awkwardness?

5 Ways to avoid the “When Is This Over?” Glance

1. Check the other person’s watch.

I’ve done this.  It works.  Because you never have to move your head…just your eyes.

2. Always wear dark-colored sunglasses.

Then nobody knows where you’re looking.

3. Drop your pen and sneak a peak.

4. Drop the line, “My phone is blowing up today!” …and sneak a peak.

5. Have predetermined starting and stopping points.

Then everyone is clear right off the bay what the expectations are. Let them know that you have another meeting to attend as soon as yours is over.  Acknowledge the awkwardness before it hits.  Honesty is the best policy. ‘I hate to be that guy, but…I’ve got a meeting right after this.”  Or you could say, “I don’t want to cut things short, but I’ve got to be done here by _:00.”

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Ben Reed is the small groups pastor at Long Hollow, a multi-site church in the Nashville, TN, area. He holds an Mdiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ben is also an avid coffee drinker and CrossFitter, but not at the same time. Catch up with Ben at BenReed.net. In his book, "Starting Small: The Ultimate Small Group Blueprint," he helps leaders through the process of putting a small group ministry together and creating a place where people belong so they can become.