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How to Entertain Yourself During Any Meeting

January 1st, 2014 COMMENTS


No More Boring Meetings

You’ve read countless articles about how to manage meetings so they’re efficient, informative, and productive. Unfortunately, no one ever suggests how to make the meeting more interesting. Not for the group but for you! It may be a group meeting, but that doesn’t mean you have to be bored listening to sales projections, productivity reports, or policy updates.

Here are some suggestions on how to entertain yourself during any meeting. It may be too much to expect your boss to appreciate your attempt to enliven the meeting. But, hey, it’s only a job, and you were looking for a reason to explain full-time employment, mortgage payments, groceries, and utilities to your kids.

Successful Meetings and Horshack

Animated Hand Raise

One of the all-time great television characters was Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), the braying geek on “Welcome Back Kotter.” Whenever Arnold had a question or comment, he scream “Oh! Oh Oh!” and raise his hand. We all know that animated hand-raising is fun. I prefer the exaggerated hand wave with some subtle finger movement. I strongly disapprove of the combination finger pointing/finger snapping hand-raising. It’s important to know the difference between being rude and being aggressively rude. You don’t need a catch-phrase, but a personal catch-phrase and a copyright could turn your meeting entertainment into a profitable business.

Taking Notes

You should be suspicious of anyone who doesn’t bring a pen and paper to a meeting. It’s just plain wrong. You, on the other hand, should take excessive notes. From the moment anyone begins speaking, begin writing. During any conversation, take notes. When there is a pause and no one is talking, keep writing. It’s a great way to stay awake during any meeting, plus you’ll be praised by your superiors for taking the meeting seriously and resented by your colleagues for taking the meeting seriously. It’s also a terrific opportunity to write a thank you letter to your Aunt Eileen for the $5 she sent on your 8th birthday. You’ll feel better and that’s all that really matters.


Remember the episode of Seinfeld where George had an eye twitch and everyone thought he was winking at them? Winking is fun, at least for the “winker” if not  for the “winkie.” When your boss says something like, “We must cut administrative expenses by 20 percent this quarter.” Give one of your co-workers a knowing wink. When two colleagues disagree about an issue, give them both a subtle but separate wink. It says, “I understand and am on your side.” Oh yes, winking can also get you hauled into HR for sexual harassment, so use your power wisely. Every great power has its kryptonite.

WinkingName Calling

This takes a little more planning, since cracking into the company’s HR files is both illegal and immoral. Start by learning everyone’s full first and middle name. Some people will gladly reveal that information because they were never mocked by their family and classmates. All others were named after dead relatives, celebrities, places, pets, or moral aspirations and still bear the emotional scars. They don’t want anyone to know their middle name is “Ottermeirman” or “Saskatchewan” or “Freedom” or “Barrymore.”

Once you have that information, use it during the next meeting. Refer to everyone by their full first and middle name. Sue, for instance, becomes Susanna Sunshine and Frank becomes Franklin Graceland. After the initial shock, I’m sure everyone will be laughing, patting each other on the back, and singing. Disclaimer: I have not personally tested this so I can’t verify the “everyone will be laughing or singing.”

Bathroom Breaks

Any meeting lasting more than 15 minutes should have at least one bathroom break. Group bathroom breaks are even better since getting everyone back into the meeting usually takes an additional 10 minutes. Subtle background noise of a babbling brook or cascading waterfall should do the trick.


Staring like winking takes a little practice but once you’ve master it, the fun begins. Psycho staring, however, is unacceptable. How do you know when you’re psycho staring? Usually someone screams, there’s finger pointing, and handcuffs and someone in a uniform or lab coat appears. To stare without repercussions, you’ll want to pretend you’re thinking of something really, really important. In case some asks, you’re pondering. It just so happens that there’s someone between you and an epiphany. Another strategy is to stare until you get someone’s attention, then look away. Repeat. Then on the third stare when the hair on the back of their neck is at full attention, motion like they’ve got something hanging from their lip, stuck on their cheek, or caught in their hair. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness.

These are just a few of my techniques to make every meeting entertaining. You are welcome to use them and add your personal flair. I don’t expect any royalties or credit —  just send me your entertaining meeting tips in return. If we wish really hard, perhaps there is a website in our future where we are a tight-knit community, or as my wife we say “an interest-specific sub-culture,” bonded by the joys of entertaining ourselves during meetings.

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or


Word on the Street — December 7th thru December 11th

December 13th, 2009 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Planning for 2010

This past week was very busy at Classic Exhibits, not only in sales and manufacturing where we saw a spike in orders, but also in administration where we devoted three full days to setting goals for 2010 and planning how to achieve them. Every year at this time, we review our successes and failures during the current year and chart our sales, marketing, production, administration, and personnel goals for the next full calendar year.

In 2009, we saw some great successes as well as some failures. In spite of the challenges of 2009, the past year gave us a clear plan of action for 2010 and beyond. Our distributors, both portable/modular and custom, are looking to Classic for “Systems” solutions because their clients are asking them for cost-effective but customizable, displays. They want unique looks and practical solutions without paying the price for either uniqueness or practicality. Exactly what do I mean by “Systems?” In inlines, I am purely referring to Hybrid Exhibits and options. And from an island standpoint, I am also referring to Hybrid Exhibits as well, but ones that can reconfigure and/or grow at a moments notice at little or no expense.

Looking forward to 2010, we realize that training is something that is greatly needed as well . . . and not your typical Distributor Training. Rather, a “program” of training sessions that people can pick and choose from and then attend. We are planning these sessions via GoToMeeting, or a similar service, every month throughout 2010.

This does not mean that you will not see our faces as well. Our travel schedule will be significant in 2010. Rather, online meetings provide us with the opportunity to have more touches together, without trying to coordinate multiple meetings in one city at the same time.

The highlight of the week (if not the year) was the Annual Classic Exhibits Holiday Party on Friday night. The annual party includes the families from all four Classic Exhibits divisions: Classic Exhibits, Exhibits NW Portland, Exhibits NW Seattle, and ClassicMODUL. What a fun night to see all the little ones running around, playing, and anticipating the visit from Santa. This year did not disappoint, as Santa arrived on schedule with gifts. Please keep your eyes out for photos from the function on P5D this week, including Mel with reindeer horns (Santa’s forgotten reindeer and for good reason).

Expect our Annual State of the Company letter in the next two weeks. As always, it will be a comprehensive overview of the previous year and a roadmap of Classic’s plans for 2010.

Finally, you will receive a Very Special E-broadcast this week with our Annual Gift to You. Here’s a little hint:  What’s shiny and bright and lightweight and the perfect demo display for the new Segue line?

Be well! Have a safe and restful weekend!

–Kevin Carty