Dear Mr. Etiquette,
I recently had to travel one and a half hours from home to give a big speech at a big meeting. After giving my talk, I had to listen to a gentleman with intellectual and affiliational deficiencies give an incredibly boring speech. After listening to this half-wit ramble on for a few minutes, I stood up and ordered him to sit down and shut up. Under further review, I feel this may not have been the best course of action. How should I have handled this situation?
Mike D., East Lansing, Mich.
Gentle listener to the gentle reader who is gently reading this column to you,
Meetings are a fact of life in the business world, and, try as we might, we will never be able to give complete attention to every speaker at every meeting. While ideally a proper businessperson would never "tune out" a speaker, etiquette acknowledges that sometimes our concentration lapses and we have no choice but to do so. In this situation, it is paramount that we let the meeting proceed as though we were giving our undivided attention. Therefore, while we may cope with a dull or uninteresting meeting in many different ways, the best way to deal with such a situation is to be neither obtrusive nor douchey.
Mr. Etiquette has prepared a chart of possible responses to a dull meeting that he hopes you will find useful. As you will no doubt be able to determine from the chart, your response to the situation was indeed less than ideal.
The lower-left icon of this chart is slightly unsatisfactory as it presumes that the individual attempting to cope with a boring meeting is attracted to female brunettes instead of male brunets. Mrs. Etiquette suggests, as a service to my gentle readers who are so inclined, that this column link to these pictures of Kit Harington so that they may modify the chart to their satisfaction.