Going out with friends or co-workers on a Friday night might seem like an innocent social activity, until you think about the climate we live in today.
Mainstream news media was abuzz at two of President Trump’s lawyers this week for loudly discussing internal sensitive specifics of the Russia investigation at a DC area steakhouse.
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) September 18, 2017
The New York Times reporters who overheard the conversation didn’t hesitate to report all of the details.
While being a regular working U.S citizen is far different from working for the President, it is worth noting that in a society with instant access to social media, a camera on a phone, and a population frequently prone to criticism with fast communication, one must be careful about communicating thoughts meant for a private setting, in public spaces.
If you must have a sensitive conversation somewhere that you may be easily overheard, keep in mind the following four tips (or possibly find yourself in a compromising situation).
1. Mind Your Volume
It’s a Friday night and you’re with your friends or co-workers at the bar. Your mind is trying to process the work week you just completed. You may have things to say about a co-worker or your boss to get off your chest.
While it is important to express yourself in the company of people you trust, remember that while in public, you never know who could be listening.
Further, is it the delicious cocktail you’re sipping on that makes you trust the recipient of your complaints, or do you have a real bond? It’s best to make sure you trust the person you are speaking with, but also watch your volume and err on the side of caution.
2. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
You simply never know who could be around when you’re having a private conversation.
You might find yourself complaining to your best friend about someone whose friend or significant other happens to be sitting right there at the same establishment, listening to everything you’re saying.
And you wouldn’t have a clue that this person is eavesdropping (and learning a lot about your private thoughts). Be discreet.
3. Stay Outwardly Positive
In general, your best practice in any type of work place or friend circle is to remain a positive force. There will always be less than ideal situations in any type of setting that requires dealing with other people. The best thing to do is to find the glass half full.
If you truly have a negative situation overtaking you, it is best to have those conversations in a nonpublic setting.
4. Be Conscious Of Body Language
Our body language conveys a lot more than we realize. You could easily cause heads to turn and be interested in what the heck you’re talking about if your arms are making large gestures, you’re rolling your eyes a lot, you’re slamming the glass on the table, etc.
Keep it in mind to have controlled body language and you’ll reduce the chances that someone will suspect your conversation is worthy of interest.
While these tips might seem overly cautious, we all have basked in the fascination of a viral video, or article of someone saying or doing something unflattering without realizing they are being filmed or listened to.
Just remember, the people in those situations probably never expected to be the one to get in that place themselves.