How to Deal with a Know-It-All Windbag

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Ah, Friday morning. The day I look forward to each week. Sitting at my desk, enjoying my iced mocha, I began to plan my day. I’d finish up a few projects early, then perhaps start on some new ones in the hopes of pushing my boss along towards putting me in charge once they become “official” projects. Then I looked at my calendar.


I had forgotten about the dreaded 2-hour project meeting that occurs every other week. Now, don’t get me wrong. The project itself is good and important to the department and university. But the meetings.

The meetings are torture. Why? Unless the universe decides to smile upon me, the Know-It-All Windbag will be there. You all know the type. He or she ALWAYS has something to say and will often go on and on and on until the eyes of every person in the room have glazed over. We actually have a few of those on this project, but one in particular has a tendency to monopolize meetings. Like today.

I might be able to overlook his windbagedness if he wasn’t also incredibly arrogant. And the false humility? Spare me. Today’s meeting lasted 70 minutes, which is a blessing in itself. I decided to clock Mr. W’s talk-time today: 40 minutes. It was not non-stop talking, but he did take up the bulk of the time. The other 9 people in the room took up the other 30 minutes.

Situations like these are the kind that can turn normal people like me into someone who fantasizes about ways to shut up the offending person. As I drifted into my own world, I thought about how nice it would be if I could execute some of my plans without any sort of consequences or criminal charges. Here are a few of my own ideas for dealing with the know-it-all windbag and making life better for everyone:

  1. Shoot him with a tranquilizer dart. I could cut our meeting time in half with this method. I’d be the hero of the department.
  2. Slip tranquilizer in his coffee. A  more subtle and less violent version of #1, though not nearly as satisfying.
  3. Implement a shock collar. If he just won’t shut up, buzz him until he does. Also has entertainment value for other meeting participants.
  4. Change the meeting time only on his calendar, that way he shows up long after the meeting has ended.
  5. Implement a talking-stick with a shock collar. Only those with the talking stick can contribute. Never give him the stick. If he talks without the stick, shock the sucker.
  6. Voodoo doll with needle through the vocal chords. Sure, it might be painful, but so is listening to him go on and on about how he thinks the project should be run.
  7. Taze him in the parking lot so he never makes it to the building. This service could perhaps be hired out.

Yes, I know I’m a disturbed individual. But I wonder how many of my co-workers are thinking the same thing? I think I saw at least one of them shoot a death ray at him today.

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