Don’t Be That Guy: Mister Microphone

“If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank.

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln (and many others)

“I have the conch!” – Lord of the Flies

During his “Himself” performance, Bill Cosby says that cocaine doesn’t change your personality…it simply intensifies it.  So if you’re a great guy in a good mood before you take it, odds are good you’ll be a really great guy in a really great mood afterwards.  But if you’re a huge jerk before you take it…you’re going to be a really huge jerk once it’s in your system.

Well, I’m here to tell you – someone needs to start testing microphones for cocaine residue…

I recently attended a conference…and it really doesn’t matter which one it was, because this unfortunately happens at just about every conference.

You’re in the crowd at a panel discussion, and there are some really great ideas being thrown around.  You’re genuinely interested in what people are saying, the questions the moderator is asking and the answers the panel is giving.  You really feel like you’re learning something and that it’s a great use of your time to be there.

The floor gets opened for questions, and things are still running smoothly.  Someone asks a good question looking for some deeper insight from one of the panelists.  A couple clarifying questions based on earlier discussion and answers get asked and responded to.  It’s actually pretty engaging.

And then it happens.

That Guy grabs the microphone.

Oh, and you know he’s That Guy before he even opens his mouth.


Shut up. Seriously. Shut. Up.

Because he immediately turns around and faces the room so that he can address the gathered crowd instead of the panel.  Yea, verily, That Guy is so god damned smart that he should be up on the panel, and he’s going the make sure that everyone in the room realizes this horrific and unforgivable oversight as he lays down some wisdom upon the masses.

That Guy desperately wants to show that he’s the smartest guy in the room, and so there are no questions here…no, why bother asking anything of the panelists that were selected to be there by the organizers for their subject matter expertise when they’re obviously not as as smart as That Guy?  That Guy doesn’t ask…he pontificates.  With grand, sweeping arm gestures he casually dismisses anything that’s been discussed thus far and begins to throw down some nonsensical, super high level concept that is so far removed from anything being discussed that he might as well be talking about how a butterfly flittering it’s wings in Japan can cause a hurricane in North Carolina four days later through windstream patterns and chaos theory.

Sit down.  Shut up.  Seriously.

Nobody in the room wants to hear your entire god forsaken thesis paper about how the name that’s been given to an implementation of technology is holding back it’s adoption.  Nobody in the audience has even a remote sense of need to hear about how you think that with about six more months of work you’re going to revolutionize the internet with some white paper you’re writing.

Nobody cares, dude.

To be clear – nobody cares in that setting.  You might actually be on to something, and you might actually have some decent ideas…but you know what?  Now you’re That Guy, and nobody really wants to listen to you.  I don’t know about the group as a whole, but based on the eyerolls and twitter comments that I noticed around me…nobody was flocking to hear more from you later, either…and I definitely noticed the cold shoulders from the panelists you so rudely interrupted.

If you have something on point to say, say it and let the room move on.  If you have a pointed question to ask, ask it, and move on.  This isn’t an audition for the Information Technology version of American Idol.

And you’re even less entertaining than William Hung.

So unless you’re going to get up and at least get a laugh by singing “She Bangs”…Don’t Be That Guy.

That’s all for this time…don’t forget to check out our other Don’t Be That Guy entries.