For the week ending 20 April 2013 / 9 Iyyar 5773

The Calls in the Middle of a Meeting

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library

Question: After a long wait for a meeting with a public official I finally got a chance to present my case face to face. No sooner did I begin my well prepared presentation than his phone rang and he completely turned away from our conversation to speak with the caller. This most disconcerting disturbance repeated itself several time during the course of our meeting. What was the right thing for me to do?

Answer: The official you met with is apparently a very busy man and you must appreciate that other people aside from yourself are anxious to speak with him during his office hours. If you find that such calls disrupt your meeting with him, you should make a polite request at the outset of your meeting that he instruct the secretary to hold all calls for a short span of time or that he remove his receiver. Such a request will not only eliminate the disruption but will also impress the official with the seriousness of your meeting.

Experience has shown that an official who turns down such a request is not particularly interested in what you have to say, so why waste your time anyway?

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