The more important people think the meeting is, the longer the rituals before any actual work gets done or information given. The audience may not agree, but it's a pretty good measure of what the presenters think.
Little League games open with very little ritual. The amount increases as the level of play improves. When it comes to the World Series, the build starts days before. When the high school has Parents' Night, they are careful to have the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, because they want to reassure the parents - We Get It. We share your culture - even when they don't. In districts where everyone is very liberal, event the parents of teenagers, maybe they communicate that they get it by not having the pledge, devoting more time to exhortation and bringing up PC groups of students to sing or show their art or get the Right Kind of Awards. I wouldn't know.
At work, those meetings where the CEO speaks, and lots of people get introduced, and they share inside jokes about how hard they've been working on this - so that you ungrateful bastards attending this workshop/training/presentation know that - are the meetings you need to not say anything bad about, even if it all takes two hours out of your morning that you can't spare to introduce you to a topic you can't do anything about anyway. (This week: electronic medical record. overview. training starts in Feb. unless there's a delay. timelines. sample screen shots from the software. except these are from another version, and ours will be different. let's clap for Richard, and Tom, and Diana, who have worked hard. they will be available when we go live in May, right here on site.)
I only asked one question, which is remarkably restrained for me. It was a good question, but there are no good questions. I should have asked none.