Daily Writing Prompt: Hear no evil

Tell us about a conversation you couldn’t help but overhear and wish you hadn’t.

Not too long ago, I learned an important business lesson at a meeting with a potential client.

When I got to the meeting the client and I exchanged pleasantries and got down to business. A few minutes into the conversation, he mentions that another employee of his who has been on the outs with the company will also be joining us (Red Flag Number 1).

Sure enough five to ten minutes later the guy sits down with us. The potential client then begins discussing how I, (a tech guy), am going to work with the employee, ( a sales guy).

The sales guy stops the conversation and “says wait a second…. Am I still your employee?” (Red Flag Number 2)

At this point, I realize I am about to overhear a conversation that I have no business overhearing nor do I want to be a part of it.

The client and the sales guy proceed to have a 15-20 minute all out argument about payment, being treated unfairly, and unfulfilled expectations while I just sit at the table looking back and forth at them, (I can imagine I resembled a guy at a tennis match just watching the ball being hit back and forth with a dumbfounded look on my face).

Finally, they finish their argument, the meeting ends, and we all go on our way without accomplishing shit.

On top of the argument between the two people not being any of my business and the meeting being a waste of time, I learned a few reasons why overhearing conversations you shouldn’t is a bad idea.

  1. You can sometimes get an unwarranted bad impression of a person. In this case, the potential client looked pretty bad. Turns out he isn’t such a bad guy. It was just a bad situation.
  2. Inevitably someone is going to ask you to take a side…. Don’t fucking do it. The conversation is none of your business.
  3. Do a better job determining the goal of a meeting before you get there. Basically, this boils down to ask more questions. I truly feel if I had done my research and defined a clear goal of the meeting beforehand. The client would have encountered this problem before meeting me.
  4. Keep my own house clean. I need to make sure that any meetings I hold between clients and I are put together well without the chance of a blow up like this. Communication certainly seems to be key.

If I had the whole experience to redo, I would have excused myself from the table at the first sign of an argument. I had no business sitting through the entire conversation.

Double Bicep Pose White

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