Q: I've noticed a growing tendency for guests to make long statements of their own views instead of asking the speaker a proper question during Q&A sessions. Does this make for a better event, either because one learns more from the opinions that are aired or because there's less time for tricky questions that might discomfit the speaker, or is it just rude and egocentric on the part of the guest?
A: It's rude and egocentric on the part of the guest.
Q: My agency is in the process of laying off staff and I've been told that when the decision has to be made, it's either going to be me or one other person for one position. The trouble is, the other person has been my best friend since college, and it was him who got me an interview at the agency in the first place. How do I handle the next few months?
A: Whoever gave you this piece of toxic information is a skunk. In everybody's interest, he's the one who has to go. In the scheming stakes, Iago comes a poor second. If your best friend hasn't been let in on this pernicious plan, tell him about it at once. Form a conspiracy. Between you, construct such a dossier of evidence against this manager of yours that he's dead in the water: if his recent action is in any way typical, that shouldn't be difficult. Feel free to play dirty. On the assumption that he's paid a great deal more than either you or your best friend, his departure should free up enough to keep you both on.
Q: Is it ever acceptable to call an Indian workmate "sootie", even if he likes it?
A: I'm afraid not.
Q: I invested quite a bit of time, and some money, in joining Friends Reunited when it first came out. Then I got keen on Facebook and put in a lot of work building up my profile and adding friends before being introduced to Bebo, where I've done the same. That was all fine until I was tipped off that LinkedIn is really where it's at for proper business people. I've started my own blog and have got up to 60 people reading it and, of course, I've still got my office e-mail, home e-mail, text messages and my voicemail to deal with. Now people are saying I've got to get on Twitter as that's where everyone's going, but this morning I read that the hot new thing is Yammer! Which of these do you use and should I now cancel my Friends Reunited account?
A: According to Jason Calacanis, the chief executive of Mahalo, Yammer is "the best communication and productivity tool available in the market today". I've no idea what that means. Helpfully, however, Alex Schleber explains: "Basically, Yammer placed the track feature/tagging formally into the UI, and created domain level security/segmenting."
So I strongly advise you to cancel all your existing accounts immediately.
Q: Recently, I received a phone-call from a major client for whom we do some of our best work which nearly caused me to fall off my chair. Basically, she rang to ask if it would help our cash-flow if we were able to invoice a current job now, as opposed to when it's finished. I said yes without thinking, and was about to send our bill, but on reflection I thought I'd ask you if you can see a catch?
A: It may very well be that this client of yours is so conscious of your agency's contribution to her company's profits, and so concerned about the effect of the credit crunch on your own, that this is nothing more than a sweet and thoughtful gesture of appreciation. Alternatively, she may have just been made redundant and any minute now will be round your place expecting a job.
As you may have noticed, I'm not feeling very charitable this week.
- "Ask Jeremy", a collection of Jeremy Bullmore's Campaign columns, is available from Haymarket, priced £10. Telephone (020) 8267 4683 Jeremy Bullmore welcomes questions via firstname.lastname@example.org or Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Rd, London W6 7JP.