What NOT to do in a departmental meeting

Hi everybody. This is Frank Sinatra, reporting live from a departmental meeting. This is what we (the small fry) do during these meetings: write pen and paper blogs at the back of our conference pads. The more talented ones draw caricatures of the big boss and pass the sheets around. At this moment, twenty five of us are seated in an air conditioned office discussing the best way to name standards. No, not what standards are to be followed. Not who should be responsible. What to NAME them. The polemics of this departmental meeting hark back to the time of Greek philosophers who spent fruitless hours arguing over how many angels sit on a pinhead. Such an erudite way to spend man hours!

In this context, I would like to present a few valuable lessons siphoned off from these ‘knowledge-gaining sessions’ (sic):

Lesson No. 1

Don’t occupy the front seats. Even if you work in a company where the senior managers claim not to mind (lucky you!); you are just drawing attention to yourself. The only palpable result will be that you will have to keep getting up to wipe the white board and (this is the worst) occasionally draw charts and pie diagrams to prove somebody else’s point. Or you might be asked to draw something and explain it yourself, and then what will you do??

Besides, there is the obvious lack of space. Eye rolling when the bosses speak nonsense and passing defamatory comments are only safe from the far far end of the room.

Lesson No. 2

Ask no questions. If you do, you will be turned into a case study and dissected till you wish you could disappear. Because the big fry never expect such impudence.

“Do you have any doubts? Please free feel to ask.” When your boss says such a things he is joking. Trust me. In fact he is merely listening to how his booming voice echoes off the round table. He is not, I repeat, he is not looking to clear your doubts. This is merely a primer for the upcoming line, which will be, hold your breath, “Since everybody is clear on this, we can move on to the next slide…”. Don’t fool yourself into raising a hand and cause his irascible temper and breath to flow down everyone’s noses.

Lesson No. 3

Keep a pen and paper handy so you can pretend to write notes and look attentive if someone happens to glance at you. Also useful for doodling and creating true-to-life caricatures. From personal experience I can vouch that the gentle drone of boss-speak is very conducive to poetry writing.

Lesson No. 4

This one is for the females: loosen your ponytail till it covers your ears, plug in those earphones and enjoy. Remember to keep the volume low enough to hear if the head honcho asks something to you. And if you’re caught, flash that disarming smile you keep handy for the traffic policemen who catch you taking triples down M.G. road.

(For the guys: Sorry. No long hair, no flashing smile, ergo no music.)

Lesson No. 5

Ask no questions. Didn’t we cover that already?

Yup, that’s about it. Keep these points handy and you are fully equipped to last through marathon team meetings!

And I always wondered why...

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