In a project meeting sometimes last week:-
A junior colleague was presenting his work on a project we were developing. It included his preliminary studies, feasibility analysis, fundamental and extended calculations, and his current views on the particular matter in discussion. It was a heavy work.
During his presentation, another colleague kept on interrupting him, asking him provocative questions and making improper comments. The questions were mostly irrelevant and the comments were hardly technical. The attacker was aiming to crush the presenter in such a humiliating fashion. Everyone else however kept quiet. The presenting colleague was driven into certain madness from this non-stop attack. He had problems presenting. Confidence fell to a critical level.
Tired with what was going on, a higher principal investigator (PI) level spoke up:
"Do you want me to switch you with him as the key investigator?" he said to the attacker.
"No," the attacker replied. "I was only..."
"Are you able to come out with the same amount of work he did?"
He didn't reply. All eyes on him now.
"If you were him presenting now," the PI continued, "can you take his pressure?"
The attacker was stunned, his face changed. Suddenly the table was turned -- the attacker became the one being attacked.
"Have you ever wondered why he's there presenting and not you?"
"Have you?" The PI pressed on the attacker again with his sharp questions.
"Then why don't you shut up?"
The attacker went dead silent. The principal investigator turned to the presenter, made a welcoming hand gesture and said, "carry on."
* * *
Never argue. In society nothing must be discussed; only give results. (Benjamin Disraeli, 1804-1881)
-- From Law 9: Win Through Actions, Never Through Argument; "The 48 Laws of Power," Greene, R., Penguin Books, London, 2000.