Cover up the 's' word
The cover of the September issue was not appropriate for business publications. While the term "meetings suck" may be something one hears muttered under someone's breath at the coffee machine, I do not appreciate seeing that expression festooned on a cover of a magazine that often sits on my desk for several days or a week before I archive it. Good taste and judgment should rule in your publication — remember, we are not reading The National Enquirer, but rather a business tool.
Mary L. Eilertson Pontiac, Mich.
I, too, serve as editor of a publication, albeit a very technical one in the energy field. So I know the need to capture attention and draw in the reader with each issue's cover. But was the September cover and use of the word suck really necessary? Are you trying to appeal to the 12- to 18-year-old reader (is that really your target audience)? It certainly is attention-getting, but my reaction was to want to dump it immediately. There's plenty of negativity out there; it's the positive that's unique and unusual.
I look forward (I think) to seeing the next issue.
Monica L. Westerlund Westerlund Communications Inc. Minnetonka, Minn.
I have been facilitating brainstorming meetings for about 25 years as a professor and consultant. While I very much enjoyed your article on "Why meetings suck" (September), I believe that there may have been a miscommunication (or a coincidence) between a statement made by Daniel Mittleman and Jennifer Duell, the article's author.
The article states that "Mittleman has come up with an effective way of brainstorming that he calls brainwriting. I would like to note that I wrote about brainwriting (as a class of brainstorming variations) beginning with my 1981 book, Techniques of Structured Problem Solving. In it, I attribute the origins of brainwriting to some engineers (Geschka, Schaude and Schlicksupp) at the Battelle Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, in a 1973 publication of theirs.
I also have conducted research on brainwriting variations, which has been cited in numerous publications including Doug Hall's 1995 Jump Start Your Brain. The variation that Mittleman describes appears very similar to a method known as the Brainwriting Pool. However, none of this is to detract from brainwriting. Its different variations can be very productive if used in conjunction with traditional brainstorming.
It is possible that this is a coincidence, but I just wanted to set the record straight.
Arthur B. VanGundy, Ph.D. Founder, AllStarMinds.com Norman, Okla.
I just had to write to you and say "Hurrah!" for (Podium, September). Someone was finally able to articulate (very humorously, I might add) why too many meetings are just too many!
Keep up the good work.
Wendy Kalland Tacoma, Wash.
Thanks for the entertaining September Podium piece on the history of meetings. I finally got a chance to read it this morning and it was a bright spot in the normally grim reality of the day. I actually laughed out loud. Thanks, I needed that!
Brad Bawek Graphics Services Manager, Anteon Corp. Arlington, Va.