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And Then He Twisted His Pen

December 6, 2018

The rest of the people in the room didn’t even notice. It was just a typical gesture that people who are bored in meetings make all the time. The lead consultant idly twisted his pen. Where it had been horizonal across the top of his yellow notepad, it was now vertical along the side of his notepad.

The junior consultant, who had been presenting the PowerPoint slide deck quickly brought his presentation to a close.

I participated in a multistate conference call today. It was set up by our client. We had people on the call from five different states. It was an important launch. But, launches are tense. If everything is perfect, we come online at the scheduled time. If anything goes wrong, we have a delay.

We try to avoid delays.

In addition to the launch bridge, we set up a second bridge that was chat only. It included the players from our team. Questions get asked on the chat channel first, before they are voiced on the launch bridge. Answers are discussed and researched on chat prior to being voiced on the launch bridge.

It’s actually pretty standard procedure. Most times the chat channel is pretty bland. But, occasionally it can save us from an embarrassing situation. It can also give us a chance to tell each other to stop talking. I’m pretty sure our client does the same thing on their side.

It’s an age old practice. It’s much easier in the age of Skype, chat and text. Prior to private chat channels, we had to use more rudimentary methods, like twisting your pen sideways.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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