1. Take notes in finger paint.
2. At sensitive moments, blow your nose raucously. Apologize for your sinus condition.
3. Laugh uproariously at a quip that was made 2 or 3 minutes ago. Say, “Oh, now I get it!”
4. Wear a disposable paper face mask. Tell the group: “Hey, you don’t want to catch what I’ve got!”
5. Check your watch very regularly, every 30 seconds or so.
6. Make a face like somebody beside you farted.
7. Stand up and act indignant. Demand that the boss tell you the real reason this meeting has been called.
8. Slowly slump in your seat. When you are about to fall off the chair, suddenly straighten up. Apologize profusely.
9. Spill coffee on the conference table. Produce a little paper boat and sail it down the table.
10. Bring a noisy electric pencil sharpener. Sharpen your pencil every few minutes.
11. Complain loudly that your neighbor won’t stop touching you. Demand that the boss make him/her stop doing it.
12. Have someone deliver a large cardboard box to you in the conference room. Apologize while you sign for it.
13. About half an hour later, have a different person deliver another one.
14. Remove your shoes and socks. Lay your socks on the table, turn each one inside out, and inspect them carefully. If anyone says anything, tell them “Doctor’s orders.”
15. Roll your eyes at almost everything the boss says. If addressed directly, adopt a cowering posture and stammer pitifully as you reply. Ask that he or she “not hurt you anymore.”
16. Bring a huge jar of Vaseline to the meeting. Display it prominently.
17. Stay behind as everyone else, including the boss, leaves. Thank them for coming.
18. Every so often, duck under the table. Stare in horror. Pop back up and look real scared.
19. Rubberneck at the notes of the person next to you. Copy them word for word. Sub-vocalize as you do.
20. Tell them that they “understand these things better than you do.”
21. Bring a hand puppet, preferably an animal. Ask it to clarify difficult points. Make all the stereotyped facial expressions to indicate that you are a psychiatrist administering psychoanalysis to the speaker. Take notes furiously.
22. Bring a pitcher of non-alcoholic beer to the meeting. As the meeting progresses, start slurring your speech.
23. Belch loudly. Tell your co-workers you can’t help it.
24. Start crying.
25. Lapse into a staring coma. Drool. Have a confederate wipe the spit from your lips, and say “It’s pitiful. But what can you do?”
26. At opportune times, stick an inhaler in your ear. Inhale deeply. Ask your neighbour, nearer the speaker, to trade places with you “so you can hear better.” Gradually work your way up to the speaker.
27. When you are as close as possible, stare up at them adoringly.
28. Give a broad wink to someone else at the table. In time, wink at everyone. Sometimes shake your head just a little, as if to indicate that the speaker is slightly crazy and everybody knows it.
29. Wear shades and carry a walkie-talkie with an earphone. Once in a while, quietly say a few words into it.
30. Bring a doughnut cushion and use it. If anybody asks, say that your hemorrhoids are really acting up this week. Offer to share it if they really need it. Be embarrassingly persistent in your offer. Offer to show them how bad
31. Wear brightly-colored earmuffs. Explain that “my ears tend to get real cold at these meetings.” Ask the speaker to please talk a little louder.
32. Bring a small mountain of computer printouts to the meeting. If possible, include some old-fashioned fanfold paper for dramatic effect. Every time the speaker makes a point, pretend to check it in one of the printouts. Pretend to find substantiating evidence there. Nod vigorously, and say “uh-huh, uh-huh!”
33. Bring a few telephone books. Add a few to sit on, adjusting your seat height until the top of your head is exactly one-half inch higher than the speaker’s. Explain that you sometimes have trouble seeing the presentation.
34. Arrange to have a poorly-dressed young woman with an infant quietly enter the meeting, stare directly at the (male) speaker for a while, burst into tears, then leave the room.
35. When there is a call for questions, lean back in your chair, prop your feet up on the table, smile contentedly, and say, “Well, here’s the way I see it, J.B...” (or any other impressive-sounding initials that are not actually your boss’s.)
36. Pre-arrange to have someone call you on your iPhone during the meeting - then excuse yourself from the remainder of the diatribe to attend a matter that requires your urgent attention - lunch!
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