January 23, 2012 1 Comment
Recently, I was on a routine call where we invited about 15 people from our global practice to join us. At the beginning of the call, there’s some casual conversation going on and even though I’m a bit preoccupied with my usual call routine, I manage to gather something about a man named Michael Ferguson (note: not his real name). Apparently this man is a rogue manager from some other company who people are trying to collaborate with on a few projects. The group jests about how he always seems to appear at the most random times only to disappear with odd medical ailments for months at a time. Our director says he’s supposed to be talking to Michael later that day and has a feeling he will actually show up in a healthy condition.
Eventually our global pals join up, we’ve got everyone around the horn, and we’re really hitting stride. Now don’t get it twisted, what I mean by ‘hitting stride’ is that the most exciting part of the call (introductions) has ended and we are in the thick of the agenda. This means that one person is speaking, in one pitch, at one speed, with zero personal interest in what they’re saying. Naturally, the slightest interference would be very noticeable.
And that’s when I heard it…BEEP. Someone had just beeped in. Not only do people rarely call in halfway through a call, but we had already done a full role call during the (sadly) exciting introductions period and confirmed that everyone was in attendance. Everyone immediately stops speaking and pauses. The silence. is. DEAFENING. We wait for our director to make a move and when he finally does, this is what transpires:
Caller: Well hey hey there Donald, it’s Michael Ferguson! How the heck are ya?!
I have to tell you all, I’m not sure I’ve heard heard anything like this man’s voice, the best description that comes to mind is Gomer Pyle from the Andy Griffith Show, now our older viewers will picture this immediately with a smile, but for our younger viewers, please, indulge:
Director: Oh um…uh…hey Michael, you know we’re not talking until 1 pm today right?
Michael Ferguson: What? I thought it was now! I’m so sorry!
Director: No, no, no! (really fast) it’s quite alright, we’re just in the middle of our weekly call with the global team, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us how you’ve been? We’ve been having a tough time getting in touch with you!
Michael Ferguson: Oh yeah! I’m sorry, I uh…I’ve actually been having some blood flow issues. Was just in the hospital yesterday, artery blockage and such, but I had these three attractive nurses pushing down on my groin during a procedure and I feel like that was enough to clear things up!
Silence, for a long time.
Director: Oh…well I, um…I’m sorry to hear that.
Michael Ferguson: It’s okay…really I’ll be fine…anyway I’ll talk to you at 1!
Everyone on the call erupts into laughter, for nearly 5 minutes (go to 48 seconds, watch the whole thing from there):
Finally, I got to laugh for the right reason.