I am a visitor to many organizations and locations, and despite my penchant for talking, there are times when I can be absolutely quiet and listen. One of the times I really enjoy stepping back and listening is when I am in the elevator (or lunch room) of nearly anywhere. The topics that people choose to discuss – and with such detail – sometimes astounds me. Of course, it also provides excellent insight for me as a speaker, and allows some to use some examples (without having to name anyone) that we can all relate to.
The other day I was reading Photo Business News & Forum and was reminded that sometimes this works both directions. I think I’ve been conscious of this for a while now, and so far I haven’t done or said something in a lobby or hallway that came back to haunt me. I *have*, however, had some experiences in public places where I felt like saying something about someone’s behavior (and sometimes I have made some, um, suggestions) – and perhaps one day that will work against me.
As a speaker, consultant, trainer, sales person, etc., this is something we have to remind ourselves on a regular basis. I believe it extends deeper. Take this into the corporation – how do you act or what do you say heading to or from a meeting? Have you shared conversations about important projects on the elevator when strangers and guests are there? Worse, have you mocked users or colleagues when you thought nobody was looking? We’re all human and have dealt with emotions and situations differently. It’s common to want to talk out your experience, but I invite you to think more before you act.
Regardless, what we do in our protection of information is important – and how you act matters. Sometimes it’s nice to have even a simple reminder and I think that Watch What You Say and How You Act is a quick and well-written reminder.