Thursday, February 28, 2008

Conference Hogs

Yesterday and today I attended a conference on children's mental health. It never fails - every conference/workshop/presentation has them: people who think their opinion is more important than everyone else's. They comment on every topic, respond to every question, monopolize the time. They are conference hogs.

There were two of them in this conference and I was lucky enough to sit within 10 feet of both. I call them "green" and "red." They sat at the very front, close to the speaker, which makes perfect sense. Had they sat in the back, they couldn't comment on everything - the speaker wouldn't hear them. They needed to be in a place where they could be noticed by not just the speaker, but also everyone else in the room.

After lunch yesterday I started keeping score. Every time one of them would comment, I kept track. In three hours, green won by a large margin. Keep in mind, this is in a room with about 75 people, all of whom are highly qualified in their field.

Green: 72 comments
Red: 33 comments

Had I kept score in the morning, I'm sure that green would have been over 200, and red would have been closer. I think red got tired in the afternoon.

The second day (today) was only a half day, but I kept score anyway.

Green: 43
Red: 12

Green would have had way more, but she got cut off by the speaker. It was hilarious, at least to me. At one point green tried to comment on something. I could see the irritation in the speaker's face. "We're running short on time so I'm going to have to move on." Green was crestfallen. She had been rebuked by the person whose approval she most craved. I'm not sure if green's going to be okay.
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