by Geoffrey Churchman

On noticing this on the firebox.com website, the immediate thought was ‘this will be handy for certain KCDC types like the present Chief Executive Mr Maxwell’, although as it was published in 2016 it’s likely that it’s already on the SOLGM (Society of Local Government Managers)’ recommended reading list.

Last year a Day-by-Day calendar for 2021 based on it was also published, perhaps so that the tips will make more of an impression on the subconscious if they stare at you for a day.

Apart from people such as Mr Maxwell, it could potentially be usful for anyone who wants to impress others by what they seem to know about the subject in a meeting when they actually don’t know anything. You might think the best strategy in that situation is to keep stumm, but that may betray the situation anyway. Another lesson that one particular KCDC councilor needs to learn, is carefully listen to what others have to say before opening your mouth. Otherwise the fact that you haven’t listened attentively will be obvious.

But if the need arises to fake it and still impress others, there are, as per the title, 100 suggestions (actually more than that counting bullet points) on what to do.

Page 3 starts off with how to enter the room, which of course assumes that you’re not the first person to do so. But it’s also a good idea not to show up late. Saying that you’ve been held up in traffic should work once, but it may not work a second time.

Then the book moves into key strategies for meetings, such as: ‘#8 Ask the presenter to go back a slide.’ and ‘#10 Make fun of yourself (people love self-depreciating humour)’.

There are 15 chapters, the headings of which themselves contain entertainment such as ‘how to make your meeting seem less like a meeting even though it’s totally a meeting.’ Well, there are some serious criticisms that could be made on that when it comes to KCDC meetings, such as when members of the public are speaking, show interest in them, don’t just bury your face in your iPad or smartphone and ignore them. That gives the message that it’s all a waste of time, theirs in particular.

Is this likely to be helpful for advancing your career in a government department or corporation? It could be. Regardless, it is going to make you smile at least, and probably chuckle.

Author Sarah Cooper is a writer, comedian and speaker who “built her comedy career in between working for companies like Yahoo! and Google, where, as a user experience designer, she was fed free lunches and lots of material.”

Published by Vintage (Penguin), 174 pages, hardback, 6 x 7 inches (15 x 18 cm). UK price is £10.