Some frivolous Friday observations.
At the age of 12 I read a book which has influenced my life ever since. ‘The Complete Book of Golf Gamesmanship’ by Stephen Potter. How to win without actually cheating.
I don’t play golf. I never have played golf. No one in my family has ever wielded a golf stick in anger, ever. So why as an impressionable youth I should read this title is beyond me. But thank heaven I did.
From an early age I’ve taken an interest in those little things people do to get the upper hand or to undermine their colleagues.
Here are a few that I’ve used or seen. I encourage you to add to this list. I’ve taken the liberty of including some good counter measures just in case.
- ‘You are looking a bit peaky today.’ This usually makes your colleague start to think they are ill. Using ‘blotchy’ as a descriptor is even better but can appear cruel if others overhear.
- ‘You are a lot thinner in the face these days, you’re either getting fit or it’s the stress of the job.’ Not to be used on someone who is getting fit.
- ‘I was talking to (first name of the MD) …’ gives you instant authority as the confidant of the boss. A very useful addition is a vague time like ‘the other day’, even though you haven’t seen them for three months.
- Give yourself the air of a strategic thinker by rocking back in your chair in a meeting whilst sucking the end of a pencil and staring intently at the ceiling before making your point. This can backfire if you lose your balance. Your status goes instantly from guru to village idiot. Practice at home before you try this one.
- Use a foreign language. Latin is good. Welsh is better. (Not to be used in the presence of Welsh speakers because they will know what you’ve said and you will undoubtedly have pronounced it wrong). Dutch is best.
- Old hat techniques which should not be used involve the mobile phone. The important text, sudden interruption by a vibrating phone or a comment like ‘I’ve got to leave my phone on because I’m expecting an important call.’ All, no, no, no. Important people aren’t troubled by these things. People who think they are important are.
- Arriving with a motor cycle crash helmet and wearing leathers is a killer move. You look particularly ‘interesting’. Tip: Make sure you park your car where people won’t notice you getting into the biking gear. A particularly effective counter measure if this is used against you is to jokingly comment across the room ‘Blimey a few cows lost their lives to make those’. You appear to be witty and they appear to be having a mid life crisis.