Meetings can make us feel trapped. Especially meetings that last longer than one hour. One way I've found to make meetings, any meeting, more interesting is to look at the various individuals in the room and place the top rim of my glasses (presuming, of course, that you wear glasses--of any kind*) in the middle of the face. The dimensions of the face become distorted. I've lengthened and shortened the faces of the most powerful person in the room in one glance. I've erased his nose, shrunken his ears, and basically made the very best caricatures without using a pencil. Sometimes the effect makes me giggle which can be embarrassing.
Another time-passing tool I like to use in meetings actually involves the pencil or pen, glasses are optional. I like the pencil because it allows more freedom of form in drawing actual caricatures of the people speaking. After the first 15 minutes, I start with the person who has had the most to say. As long as his mouth or hers is moving, I'm looking at them anyway, and my pencil sketches the main features.
Not that the finished product is in any way a keenly drawn portrait. It's not. But I'm usually able to capture the significant features. Nearly anyone looking on to my notebook can discern the figure in the margin to be the person in the room talking, and talking, and talking. Later, when I review my notes, I have found my drawings to be reminders of who said what, and the details they've shared come pouring back in my memory.
I use the same two tools during lectures. Some of the best lectures are made even more interesting, from a personal level, and the really worst of all lectures are definitely made more tolerable. Unfortunately, it also makes them memorable.
Doodling is one of the best ways to help the brain retain incoming information. it's true--as in proven. If you like to doodle, but you don't like the sneers from those who think you are not paying attention, check out Sunni Brown's TED lecture.
And if you find yourself on the TED webpages unable to stop watching and listening to the "ideas worth sharing" pick up a pencil and doodle away.
*Note: if you don't wear glass, by some weak reading glasses and bring them along to your next meeting. You've got some serious head shrinking to do.