How to conduct a Nigerian meeting!

HOW TO CONDUCT A NIGERIAN MEETING – Elnathan John

A Nigerian is not just a person who has a green passport or one whose parents are Nigerian citizens. A Nigerian properly-so-called, is one who knows how to live in Nigeria without bursting an artery, committing suicide, or running away to seek asylum somewhere else. If you have run away, kindly refrain from calling yourself a Nigerian. The acceptable term for you is ‘of Nigerian origin’. There is a difference. 

Being a proper Nigerian, I feel like I should explain this concept thoroughly starting with how to conduct meetings. A Nigerian meeting is not just an event. It is that sacred, multipurpose, indispensable tool for living the Nigerian life. This is how to conduct a Nigerian meeting.

As a business owner, always call for meetings even for things you can do by email. Sometimes, meet early in the morning for morning devotion to commit your business and hustle to the hands of God. Meet to set the agenda for other meetings that will be held over the week. 

Jobs are boring. You need a distraction. Meetings, especially ones with tea break, prevent you from losing your mind and picking up a gun to shoot all your annoying colleagues like white people do. White people need to have more meetings. 

When going for a meeting, never arrive early. This will give the impression that you are jobless, desperate or too eager. Nobody likes Nigerians who are jobless or too eager. A true Nigerian, not one who is pretending to be white, will understand if you show up late for a meeting. They may feign annoyance, but usually they will wait. In fact the best of Nigerians will make excuses for you, especially if you live in a place like Lagos. You will walk in late to a meeting, panting, with that faux look of contrition and the person you are having a meeting with – if she is a good Nigerian – will say: Eiyah! Traffic abi? You will only have to nod or say something like: No be small tin o. Everyone will be grateful that you showed up and the meeting will begin. 

When you are having a big meeting with an ‘oga’ (or oga-madam) it is safer to cancel all other appointments for the day. Because the oga will saunter in three hours late and you will have to smile and say “No, not at all!” when he asks: “Did I keep you waiting?” 

If you are an oga, you should never, ever show up for a meeting on time. This is Nigeria. People disrespect ogas who don’t keep them waiting forever. They will think you are equals and before you know it one ordinary person will call your name without adding Chief or Prof or Honorable or Your Excellency. God forbid that after hustling to get those titles, some idiot forgets to mention them. All because you came early to a meeting. 

As a proper Nigerian whose father is God, you must commit all meetings to His hands. You may work hard but it is God that is in charge of blessing our hustle. Never forget to say at least two prayers in every meeting. One Christian, one Muslim. You never know which of the Gods will answer favorably. It does not matter if you will be discussing how to steal from other people. God sees the heart and he knows that deep down, all you want to do is succeed. 

When it is your turn to speak at a meeting it is rude to go straight to the point. Proper Nigerians are not rude. Because I care, please find below a summary of how to speak at a Nigerian meeting:

1.     Don’t be ungrateful. Thank the moderator for giving you the opportunity to speak. 

2.   Don’t be disrespectful. Observe all protocol. People did not become highly placed by mistake. 

3.    Show appreciation. Say how much it is a privilege for you to be at the meeting. Use the phrases ‘singular honor’ and ‘rare privilege’.

4.  Show understanding. Explain how important the meeting is to you and to everyone present. Thank the conveners for having the wisdom to organize the meeting.

5.    Show regard for the last speaker. Use words like ‘just like the last speaker has said’ or ‘I want to concur with the last speaker’ or ‘I totally agree with the last speaker’ or ‘I want to align myself with the last speaker’. Then proceed to say the same thing using your own words. It is important for everyone to have a chance to speak at a meeting. 

6.     Be considerate. Promise not to speak too long with a phrase like: ‘I will not take much of your time’, after which you can speak freely.

7.    Always provide a summary of all you have just said. Use phrases like: ‘So, what have I just said?’ or ‘What am I trying to say?’ to introduce you summary. 

8.    Be observant.  If you still have more things to say and you sense that people are tired of hearing you speak, use the words ‘In conclusion’ to give them hope that you will soon end, after which you can continue to speak freely. 

All meetings must end in a closing prayer. To avoid a fight however, take care to remember whether it was a Christian prayer or Muslim prayer you began with. When you are not sure, do both prayers. You do not want to annoy any children of the Nigerian God. 

One last thing: Don’t forget that the only acceptable way of answering a phone call during a Nigerian meeting is to shout: “Hello, please I am in a meeting, let me call you back.” People will smile, seeing how important this meeting is to you.  

I hope that this helps and that God will continue to bless your hustle as you conduct meetings.

– Elnathan John. 

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11 Rules for Hugging at Work!!!

An interesting write up by Tim Sackett, who describes himself as a hugger.

Being a hugger can make for some awkward moments – what if the other person isn’t expecting a hug, or doesn’t want one, and you’re coming in arms-wide-open!?

Fast Company has an article recently titled: To Hug Or Not To Hug At Work? by Drake Baer, that delved into this subject.
Here’s a piece from the article:
“the uncomfortable feeling you get when you realize that your concept of your relationship with someone else doesn’t match their concept. The intensity of awkwardness roughly corresponds to the magnitude of difference in relationship concepts.”

I consider myself to have a number of roles: husband, dad, coach, boss, friend, coworker, etc. In each of those roles, I’ve hugged and will continue to hug.

Sometimes, though rarely, I’ll find someone who isn’t a hugger. The first time I ever met Kris Dunn face-to-face, we’ve had known each other and talked frequently by phone for a year, at the HR Tech Conference – he was coming out of a session, I recognized him, he recognized me, and I went full ‘bro-hug’ (sideways handshake, other arm hug-back slap combo) on him, and I’m pretty sure he was caught off guard – but played along.

Men feel much more comfortable hugging women than other men. Women will hug anything.
I thought it was about time we had some hugging rules for the office, so here goes:

The Hugging Rules

1. Don’t hug those you supervise.
(The caveats: You can hug a subordinate if: it’s being supportive in a non-creepy way (major family or personal loss – sideways, kind of arm around the shoulder, you care about them hug); it’s at a wedding and you are congratulating them; it’s a hug for a professional win (promotion, giant sale, big project completion, etc.) and it’s with a group, not alone in your office with the lights off; you would feel comfortable with your spouse standing next you and watching that specific hug.)

2. Hug your external customers or clients when they initiate hugging sequence. (The caveats: Don’t hug if: it is required to get business – that’s not hugging, that harassment. Don’t let the hug last more than a second or two, or it gets creepy. Don’t mention the hug afterwards; that makes you seem creepy!)

3. Don’t hug the person you’re having an affair with in the office. (No explanation needed)

4. Hug peers, just not every day. (It’s alright to hug, but you don’t need to do it everyday for people you see everyday. Save some up and make it special!)

5. When you hug, hug for real. (Nothing worse than the ‘fake hug’! A fake hug is worse than a non-hug.)

6. Don’t whisper, ‘You smell good,’ when hugging someone professionally. (That’s creepy – in fact don’t whisper anything while hugging!)

7. Don’t close your eyes while hugging professionally. (That’s weird and a bit stalker-ish)

8. It is alright to announce a hug is coming. (Some people will appreciate a – ‘Hey, Come here: I’m giving you a hug – it’s been a long time!’)

9. It’s never alright to hug from behind. (Creepier!)

10. Never hug in the restroom. (It makes for awkward moments when other employees walk in and see that.)

11. If you’re questioning yourself whether it will be alright to Hug someone professionally, that is your cue that it probably isn’t.

Do you have any hugging rules for the office? Want to read more of my crazy rules in the workplace? Check out my daily post at The Tim Sackett Project.