If listeners are pulling out their BlackBerries at a meeting, speakers should take it as a signal that they need to improve their communication skills. It is the speaker's responsibility to be concise, show his or her commitment to the topic and reach out to make a connection with each listener in the room.
Making an impact in a meeting doesn't just happen; the speaker needs to work at it.
Too many executives get caught up in what they're saying that they don't think about the impression they're sending out by how they're saying it. No wonder listeners are tuning out and turning on their BlackBerries.
Okay, first off, rude is rude. I shouldn't have to, but let me say that again with italics and bold and - what the hell - all caps: RUDE IS RUDE. I don't care if the speaker is as boring as the TP(X)611. If you have a meeting scheduled from 12-1, then you can pick up your messages at 1:01. End of story. If you even have one of those things in the meeting, you may as well just say "fuck you" to the speaker and be done with it. Obviously, your time is much more important than anyone else's and you shouldn't deign to be in this meeting with these low-lifes who bothered to show up and meet you in person rather than ping you on your little toy from their secure undisclosed location, which is probably the Starbucks on Broadway and 51st. Get over yourself.
Second gripe: this is another self-serving letter, a close relative to yesterday's dumb letter. But in a way, more pernicious. Guess what the letter-writer does for a living? Here's what it says under her name.
The writer is a speech coach.
Ha! You know, I probably could have told you that without even reading that tidbit. Of course, she can't make any money off of people just having common courtesy. So it's obviously the speaker's fault. And hey, she can help! For free, I'm sure. This is essentially an advertisement for herself, published gratis by our pals at the NYT. Congrats, fellas. Either you're complicit or you've been had.
And what great logic. Next time I'm at the movies and I'm bored I'm just going to whip out my banjo and start hollerin' some folk tunes. Nobody else will mind. After all, it's the filmmaker's responsibility to keep me engaged. If they can't, well, it's no wonder the banjo comes out and "Come Home Bill Bailey" takes over. What else am I supposed to do? It can only lead to better movies.