Rands writes about what's really going on in meetings: Agenda Detection. This is a very cynical view of the nature of meetings, but I don't think it is wrong. It's a little stark as a way of viewing people you actually have to deal with every day, but a useful dimension to explore when trying to understand what's going on when half a dozen people sequester themselves around a table.
Simply put, Agenda Detection is the ability to discern:
- Typical meetings roles and how meeting participants assume them
- Explanation of what these distinct meetings roles want out of a meeting
- How to use this understanding to get the hell out of the meeting as quickly as possible.