Today at work we had a new business meeting with a potential new client. The meeting seemed to be going well while we talked about our capabilities and ways we could support their business. In the middle of the meeting, our PNC (potentil new client) was talking about their laboratory in China and this came out, "The Orientals over there...." WHAT? Did I just hear that? The reserved professional that I am kept the same facial expression and tried to focus on what he was actually saying, while trying to ignore the inappropriate and naive comment that was just made.
Not two minutes later, he said the same thing. Again, poker face. Wow, i am getting good at this. Another member of their team started talking about their possible distribution in Hawaii and he said, "The Orientals...." SERIOUSLY? Two different people in the same meeting made the same racial slur? Not possible. Again, my best poker face is played and the meeting goes on.
After the meeting was over and we are all casually chatting, the original social blunder speaker topped his original racial slur with a comment about "a colored fella". Poker face was played yet again for the fourth time today.
After the PNC left we all gathered together to talk about the meeting. Funny thing is we didn't talk about the actual meeting, but of how each of us tried to play good on our poker faces. Really though, how on earth are you supposed to act when someone says something like that? Especially in a work environment where you could be potential business clients? The only thing I knew what to do was to not say anything. But then again, that is true to form. I hate confrontation. I can't imagaine it in a new business relationship.
Question is, how would you handle a situation like this?