Read the table
Posted by Steve on February 08, 2005
In Reply to: Read the table posted by Bill on February 08, 2005
: I have heard the term "read the table" or "read the room" referring to clean the table or straighten up the room. I believe this may have its origins from Ireland. I am not sure if it is spelled "read" or is it "redd". Does any one have some insight on this?
I am familiar with these terms in a business sense and have heard them expressed for many years by people of my generation (mid-fifties). To "read the table" was meant to quickly and discretely scan all of the people around a conference table when entering a conference room for a meeting so as to gauge or assess the general demeanor of those in attendance. Similarly, to "read the room" meant to do the same thing but in a larger sense.
Example: "There were rumors around the company that big changes in management were in the works. I was suddenly called on the phone and told to get into the Conference Room ASAP. Not knowing what was going on, I quickly "read the table" (or room) when I entered to see if I could get a reading if I was the subject of the change."