Let’s face it, everyone wants to be the most annoying person in a meeting. The question is how? It can be a real challenge. Luckily, I was in a meeting recently where there were some individuals who were clearly experts at this, so I took notes on their behaviour, which I will now share with you.
- The first tip is around the meeting itself. By all means, if it is useless and will waste attendees’ time by just being a way to talk without action, schedule that baby, preferably for an hour or more.
- Show up late. Disrupt the conversation, already in progress, with your reasons and excuses. Derailment and attention-stealing should be your prime objective.
- Don’t listen. Unless you are talking, you should do your best to be distracted. Some suggested distractions include: your phone, your laptop, the contents of your purse, what’s in your teeth… Bonus: if you can distract others in the meeting, you get extra points. Turn to your neighbour and engage them in a sidebar conversation at the same time someone in the room is speaking. The less relevant it is to the meeting topic, the better.
- If you are dialing in to the meeting, it helps if every time you go to talk, you say, “Sorry, I was on mute.”. This is such a common occurrence that I’m thinking of making a T-shirt out of it.
- Try to take over. Be a meeting tyrant. Don’t worry about what the meeting was originally supposed to be about; your thing is obviously way more important. Dominate.
- Yawn loudly. Repeatedly. It’s useful for me to know that you’re bored and/or tired. I especially enjoy studying your uvula whilst you do so.
- Interrupt! I can’t emphasize more how important this is. If someone else is talking and a thought occurs to you, just say it. You gotta get it out! RIGHT THEN! I’ve heard it can kill a guy if they don’t.
- It’s good to ask questions because it can show that you are engaged in the conversation. What’s extra good, though, is if you ask a question because you already know the answer and want to let everyone else know how smart you are. This is especially good if you know that the person you’re asking doesn’t know the answer. You are brilliant.
- Be a clown. A little humour during a meeting is OK, but if you can really turn it up a notch and take the opportunity to convert the meeting into your own personal comedy club, all the more power to you, son. Heckling? Go for it! Emasculating the meeting chair? Aces.
- Finally, make a giant mess. If there is food served during your meeting, don’t worry about keeping tidy because your mom is showing up after to clean up. Just leave all your garbage where you’re sitting. And if you do take the time (needlessly) to put stuff in the garbage can, and there’s already a lot of stuff in there, be sure to pile your shit perilously on top. The cleaning staff love that because it’s kind of like playing trash Jenga for them — why shouldn’t they have some fun on the job too, right? No recycling bin? Don’t worry about it because if you put everything together in the same place, it’ll sort itself out. That’s how it works.
I can attest to trying out some, if not all of these tips at one time or another, so they are tested and true. Try ’em out. With practice, I’m sure you can get everyone to hate you after a while. Good luck!