So what do you do when a client persistently, obliviously, ignorantly talks all over you at business meetings?
I mean what is the correct etiquette that one should follow? Is grabbing someone by the scruff off their neck and shaking them so hard their blood separates into its component parts socially acceptable? Is it de rigeur to pinch their nose hard and pull their head down to within an inch of the tabletop and quietly mutter death-threats in a voice not unlike Robert De Niro in any of his films?
I need to know because I swear to God I am going to pop a vein if I attempt to suppress my anger any longer.
I think what annoys me most is that, in the moment, I allow it to happen. I can’t seem to raise my voice to battle theirs. I mean, I know I can do it. I know I can summon up the volume; my lungs have the capacity. It’s just that – in the moment – that response seems lost to me. I keep talking. Starting, restarting, restarting, restarting until finally Little Miss Gob-Jockey finally grinds her tongue to a halt. Then I get to speak. Only what I have said doesn’t seem to be heard or acknowledged or valued because the Uber-tongue starts up yet again exactly where it left off.
My only consolation is that it isn’t just me who has this problem. It’s not personal. I’m not an isolated case.
But it feels personal when it happens. Damned personal.
Time was, years ago, I was quite a placid character. An easy-going guy. Wasn’t really in touch with my anger, all that jazz. But over recent years, me and my anger, we’ve started becoming better acquainted. We’re not leaving it so long between phone calls if you get my meaning. The satellite link up is experiencing less and less delay.
It used to be that I’d get talked over by Be’elzeblah and the anger would hit me a couple of hours later. There’d be a bit of a drag to it.
Now though we’re talking ten minutes max.
It’s catching up with the moment. And you can see what’s going to happen, can’t you? Soon, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of my life my anger is going to be there right on the button.
And I need to know what is the most socially acceptable way of reacting. How far can I push the anger envelope and not have myself carted off to an anger management course?
Because part of me would just like to mutter “blah blah blah blah blah” continuously, unendingly... starting off real soft and low and slowly building to a crescendo that has everyone in the meeting, one by one, falling silent and looking my way. Another part of me would just like to be working class and just slam my palm down onto the tabletop and exclaim “fer fook’s sake, woman, will you please just shut yer fooking trap and let me fooking speak?” You know, the direct approach?
But there is another part of me – slightly unhinged with all this repressed fury – that just wants to scream “shut up shut up shut up shut up” into this person’s face and maybe spit a little bit into her mouth. ‘Cos – and this might come as a surprise to some of you – this situation is really starting to get on my goat.
Hey? Are you even listening to me?
Oi! Focus dagnammit! This is important!