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the nodder April 23, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Meeting Minutes, Staff.
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The Nodder. No, this isn’t about a person who sleeps through meetings. This is about the person who knows the secret to making it seem like he’s actually paying attention to the meeting.

It’s all about looking interested. Or, as That Guy said in Future Stock, “it’s all… about… appearances.” The Nodder listens with half an ear, perhaps thinking about his kids, or his hobbies, or how much work is piling up while he sits in this meeting and lends half an ear. Every now and then, he nods, says “mmhmm” softly, or engages in some combination of the two. Perhaps he leans forward a bit. Perhaps he leans back a bit. He might scribble something down in his notebook, but no one knows what it is. (It might even be relevant.)

And he does what so many other people don’t when they tune out: he stays aware enough to actually offer suggestions now and then, thus confirming that he is indeed paying attention. At least, he’s confirming it to the meeting leaders. Who, by the way, he addresses by name. You’ll notice he’s the only one who does so.

At the end of the meeting, the Nodder simply goes his merry way, either to his next meeting or back to his desk to nod some more.

It will drive you crazy. Not necessarily because of the nodding and the “mmhmm”ing — which, make no mistake about it, will get on your nerves — but because you didn’t think of it first.

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