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  • Why Successful People Use Their Indoor Voices

    Talking Restaurant photo from ShutterstockLast night I had dinner at one of the more delicious Los Angeles seafood houses, Connie and Ted’s. Little known to the outside world, LA “night life” closes up early every night of the week. For example, it’s hard to get dinner after 10 PM on a Saturday night and the bars all close at 2 PM, latest. So, at this West Hollywood hot spot around 8 PM, lots of celebrities and various industry folks were quietly putting away freshly shucked oysters, steaming lobsters drowning in butter and toasted hunks of garlic sourdough bread dripping with sauce from mussels marinara.

    It’s an expensive place to eat and drink, for sure. The restaurant chefs and staff do everything they can to make it worth it.

    What they cannot control is what ruins the experience.

    People screaming for attention. Literally. Screaming. For. Attention.

    Among the movers and shakers, families celebrating a big event and partnered folks on a date night like I was, were the people who wanted to be noticed by the rest of us. We sat next to such a foursome. Using their outdoor voices, they shared their stories, reveries, aspirations, experiences and unbridled hysterical reactions to each other.

    Have you ever been at a bar or restaurant where there are screamers? Where everything they say is whoop-worthy? Where a shrill whistle, a locomotive, rollercoaster and head cheerleader with a megaphone could not compete with the noise anyone of them is emanating?

    Do you scream in public places, that aren’t parks or stadiums?

    After decades of looking at some key issues in human behavior and the workplace, it’s clear to me that there is no magic threshold that separates life and work. There is no passage through a doorway that makes you a considerate, confidence-inspiring, attractive person in the workplace, when you are a rude, lout in your personal life. No one has that good a grip or tight a rein on their impulses.

    So, if you want to be respected, promoted, hired, invested in, or otherwise well-rewarded and regarded in business: start by reflecting on your behavior when you think we are not watching you in that context.

    Open the door for someone behind you. Quietly wait your turn in line. Leave a good tip. Lower your voice so others can enjoy their own conversations.

    I can only imagine that at least one of the screenwriting screamers from dinner last night showed up for a meeting with a Hollywood producer the next day. My guess is the memory of their first accidental meeting probably wasn’t there, but the taint of self-importance couldn’t be missed.

    Nance Rosen, MBA is author of Speak Up! & Succeed: How to get everything you want in meetings, presentations and conversations. She blogs at NanceRosenBlog.com. She is also on the faculty of the UCLA Business and Management continuing executive education program. Formerly, Nance was a marketing executive at the Coca-Cola Company, president of the Medical Marketing Association, first woman director of marketing in the Fortune 500 technology sector, host of International Business on public radio and NightCap on television, an entrepreneur and a general manager at Bozell Advertising and Public Relations (now Omnicom).

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