Monday, April 4, 2011

No comments please...

One of the funniest/most annoying thing about conferences, presentations, forums and other general large meetings where information is shared and discussions are had, has to be the people who comment in the end:

“Bla bla bla capacity building, bla bla empowerment bla bla, Thank you…….

Any questions……or comments?”

“Yes, over there…”

“Hi, yes I am the guy who likes to ask questions not because I don’t know the answer, but rather because I want the audience to recognise how intelligent I am. My question, while presented as a question with a question mark in the end, is actually just a statement about something that is not really related to the topic, but makes me sound really clever and smug….?”

“err… ok…thanks? Anyone else?”

“I would just like to trump the previous commenter by drawing everyone’s attention to the serious issue of culture. Yes… culture, culture, culture. This issue was not mentioned enough time in the presentation and that gives me the opportunity to look really culturally sensitive and cool…because that is just who I am. So yes, we should all be aware of culture”

“Culture, yes, a very important issue. Oh, it looks like we are getting a lot more hands going up. I guess the topic at hand is really controversial or there are just a lot of forum trolls here. You ma’am”

“Hi, I am the type of person who likes to take advantage of these opportunities to do some shameless self-promotion of my organisation. I typically work for the UN or a popular NGO and I am going to tell you all how OUR programme already addresses the issues being discussed and have seen remarkable results because, well, we are amazing.”

“O….K….. next?”

“Ahem…yes that is right, I just cleared my throat. That means I am preparing to give a nice long speech. I am one of those prestigious acting person who holds that astounding skill of being able to stand at talk for longer than the actual presentation itself. Don’t worry if you missed the beginning of my speech because the end has nothing to do with it”

“…. Huh? oh… OH! Thank you sir for that… err… thank you. I think we are gonna end… no wait, yes, you?”

“Hi yes, I am the guy who would just like to briefly blame Khartoum for this problem… it is their fault… everything is their fault”

“Oh yes, I would like to agree with you sir. I would also like to place some of the blame on the Murle… those guys are always up to no good”

“Thanks? Awkward. I think we have just run out of time. So I would just like to….”

Bang! “Ouch!.......Oh, excuse me. Sorry, I’m the guy who doesn’t actually care about the issue but could not turn down the opportunity for a free lunch. I like to time it so that I am here just long enough to legitimise my presence in the lunch queue… please continue.”

“Ok. Well, as I was saying, I would just like to finish up about now, so no further comments or questions please. I do see that a lot of you still have something to say, but there really is not anymore time for you, Ms. ‘OMG this is so gender biased’ or you, Grandpa ‘learn to turn your phone on silent’ and of course, you, ‘weird guy who looks like he’s frantically writing notes while sniggering to himself as people make their comments’, I hope whatever your writing isn’t going to end up on some blog somewhere.”


  1. Brilliant! The rituals and performances of conference commentators! Just shared this on Twitter...

  2. Brilliant! This phenomenon is so ubiquitous that it really is like its pre-arranged.

    A slight variation on the shameless self-promoter is the person who takes the Q&A session as an opportunity for an elevator pitch and/or straight up hitting the panelists up for a job in front of a room full of people. Whatever "question" is even attempted is usually proceeded by a lengthy oral CV and detailed contact information. Oftentimes this is coming from a student.

    A further species is he who asks such a specific question that the answer can only possibly benefit himself, ie "I work with at-risk children in this rural province, and my question is how would you engage the Ministry of Youth to realize such an initiative?"

    I've said for some time now that these conferences need to institute some sort of rules of conduct for Q&A sessions.

  3. That was awesome.

  4. Thanks for the love. And that other species you speak of MM Jones......yeah, that's how I got my current job