“Let’s go to the next slide. We have to get to the contracting officer.”
“Mike, you’re in Arizona?... What the hell?”
“Ha, ha, ha …Vicky calls me on this!”
“I know it’s meaningless. It’s a meaningless term, but the statute says…”
“Actually, it’s a working model. Who has a copy? No one can find it.”
“Five to ten times. Keep at it. Thanks, George.”
Welcome to what passes for peace in an airport lounge, the place you go to escape the bustle and press of the terminal. The quotes above are taken from a 7-minute window of time in the US Airways lounge. I was seated in an area that was 100 square feet. I had no problem hearing these conversations.
I retired as an Army Officer in 2009 and have been on the road since then. Speaking, executive coaching, teaching, consulting, and serving on boards take up my time. I enjoy the work and the people I meet. And I get the chance to interact and observe a lot.
One of my observations is that we are either getting pretty thoughtless about our conversation volume, or we think everyone wants to hear our conversations.
I’m weighing in on the thoughtless side of the scale. When I walked up to a gentleman (I’m loose with the term) who was having the contracting discussion above, I asked if he would please quiet down. He smirked, turned his back, and said into the phone, “Next slide.” The volume, if anything, went up.
He wasn’t alone.
I would leave two points to ponder:
The best boss I ever had in 33 years in the Army told me the thing that bothered him the most about people was when they were “thoughtless.”
I’m seeing (and hearing) a lot of thoughtlessness in our behavior in this airport “phone lounge.” Lighten the frowns, lessen the volume, and let’s not get to the stage where we need airport phone boots.