Meeting Tips for Ryne Sandberg

Rich Schultz

I share a few tried and true meeting tips with Ryne Sandberg, because he apparently needs to up his meeting game.

Ryne Sandberg had a closed door team meeting yesterday, and then the Phillies went right out and lost. His meeting apparently had no effect. I don't know what words he said, but they apparently weren't the right ones to inspire the Phillies to play beyond their age and natural abilities.

I'm going to talk to you directly, Ryne. Can I call you Ryne? No? Ok then. I go to a lot of meetings, uh, sir, and I thought you could use some tips about how best to communicate with your players through the complicated art of the meeting.

1) Bring a PowerPoint. This is a must. Without this, how will anyone know what you're talking about? How will anyone be able to visualize the words you're saying? Be sure to fill it with unnecessary photos, animations, and music. Use of Comic Sans is encouraged. It's the fun font!

2) Speak in easy to remember but essentially meaningless phrases. "Go for it!" is a good one. "Push the envelope" is another, and so is "think outside the box." Also "Low-hanging fruit." Use the word "paradigm" a lot.

3) Emote. Walk around and point a lot. Gesture emphatically. Mime things. Start a game of charades your audience has no idea you're playing. If need be you can resort to typical coach-y cliches, like throwing equipment, flipping a table, or yelling "PROSTITUTION WHORE!" in a crowded restaurant. Ok, that last one may be from "Real Housewives of New Jersey."

4) Encourage audience participation and playacting. There's nothing anyone loves more than being forced to play out a fake situation in a made up setting in front of their peers. Have Ben Revere play the part of Larry Bowa and Phillippe Aumont play the part of Jimmy Rollins in order to illustrate different types of interpersonal communication. Or you can have Revere play Jack and Aumont play the beanstalk in the Phillies Clubhouse production of "Jack and the Beanstalk." Whatever works for you.

5) Assign homework. Is there a book the players should read before this meeting? Be sure to tell them just a few days before the meeting is set to happen. That way they'll be familiar with the sense of urgency you want them to have on the field, and they'll in no way think that the book and the meeting were a colossal waste of time.

6) Distribute handouts. The PowerPoint presentation will spell everything out for the players like they're incompetent schoolchildren, but giving them handouts will take that to the next level. They can make notes on the sheets that say exactly the same thing as the presentation projected in front of their faces, or they can fold those handouts into paper airplanes to launch at you as you speak.

7) Form working groups. Divide the team into groups of 3-6 and give them each a specific area to focus on, regardless of whether or not it's meaningful. You won't be taking any of their feedback anyway, but this is a good way to make them think that you will. Meetings are all about keeping up appearances. If you thought they were about getting things done, then you obviously haven't been to a lot of meetings.

8) Have at least three other meetings scheduled. Perhaps you could even create a committee to discuss the scheduling of future meetings. Make the meetings the only things that matter. This is how you will impart urgent information to them in the future. It's how you will register your approval or disapproval of their job performance. Promise to bring treats if they do well, but then never, ever bring any. Keep them yearning for your approval. If players aren't fighting to be your handpicked PowerPoint slide-advancer, you've failed.

I hope these are helpful to you, skipper. If you use a few of these, maybe next time the Phillies won't act like the meeting you had with them is utterly meaningless.

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