Monday, November 01, 2010

The Art of Interrupting

Every Hollywood assistant becomes well acquainted with the technique of interrupting a meeting. While it's often for a Very Important Phonecall or another meeting, it's often simply because they just want you to help them get the meeting to end at a certain time. That's right - the highly coveted job of assistant usually includes "get your boss to end meetings on time."

So, how does a good assistant interrupt their boss' meetings? Well, you write a note on a post-it or a buck slip, politely knock on the door where said meeting is located, apologize profusely for interrupting, then silently and seriously hand your boss over this piece of paper containing what is obviously a Very Important Message. Then, if all goes according to plan, about five minutes later your boss is ushering these people out of his/her office with a remark about some Very Important Thing they have to go handle.

How do I interrupt my bosses' meetings? I like to write silly things on post-its or buck slips, then hand them to my boss and see if he or she (or both) will laugh. Does this make me a good assistant? No. But does it mean that they might be inclined to end their meeting sooner for fear of me writing them a note that actually does make them laugh? I like to think so.

So, in case you too are an assistant and have to employ a similar method for getting your boss to end his/her meetings on time, here are some notes I've used in the past. Feel free to contribute any good ones you may have drummed up yourselves:

"This is a note for you, per your request of me."
"This doesn't say anything important."
"I am the best assistant in the world."
"You told me to come get you now, so here I am."
"You have some things to do and stuff."
"If I told you I had Will Ferrell on the line would you believe me and take the call?"
"Why are you still in this meeting?"
"So. Here I am."
"I really tried, you know."

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