Picture yourself riding in the van that is transporting you from the airport to the parking lot. Pretty tight space, huh?
Suddenly, the silence is broken — no, blasted — by the guy sitting next to you. Oblivious to his surroundings, he says in a loud voice: “Hello, Mary, just landed a few minutes ago. Is the meeting still scheduled for this afternoon? Do you have all the reports on my desk for me to review? And tell me, what important calls do I need to return right now?”
OK, this inconsiderate fellow has just:
invaded your privacy and the privacy of everyone else in the van;
flaunted his conviction that he is incredibly prominent in the business world;
risked sharing confidential information with a bunch of strangers, one of whom could by chance even be his competitor.
If scenes like that drive you crazy, then I am confident you will like my simple solution. Here it is: If someone wants to hear your cellphone conversation, one of two things will have happened. First, they will have called you. Or second, they will have accepted your call.
Therefore, if neither of these has happened, the people in our vicinity are not at all interested in what we have to say. In fact, our phone conversation will offend them.
So if we must make a cellphone call, lets move away to a more private place. Even there, we might need to lower our voice.
If you are a manager, explain this guideline at your next staff meeting. Circulate it in writing. Add it to your company newsletter. Before long, you will experience increased courtesy and consideration by your company’s cellphone users.
Meanwhile, as we wait for more people to realize that cellphones are for private conversations only, is anybody in favor of bringing back those old-fashioned telephone booths we once used?