Fast Company

Can You Hear Me Now?

So.  I’m driving along and the news bulletin is “man shoots other man in arm in movie for talking.”  It came out of my mouth before I could even stop the sound.  A loud “YES!”   I think I might have even done a fist pump.  Now just because I live in Texas doesn’t mean I have a gun, know how to shoot one or even approve of them.  However, I absolutely hate it when people talk in a movie or loudly on their cell phone or are just plain rude anywhere.  Just drives me crazy.  Here I am cheering wildly in my car for something that is obviously so wrong and illegal but it did get me to thinking - what situations have I and my fellow decent human beings found ourselves in where we have actually let the tiny little voice behind our big smart business brains say, “I’m gonna kill’em!”  

It seems I am not alone…..

 

  • As a professional speaker, I set ground rules in my programs so people respect everyone in the audience and don't use their cell phones or do "hip checks" on the blackberry or Twitter. I however was an audience member for a speech where a guy's cell phone rang.  He got up and paced the back of the room talking loudly on his cell phone as if the 40 other audience members where not there. The speaker didn't do anything, he just kept on speaking.  Patti Wood
  • My cubicle was directly across from the most annoying girl ever. She talked on the phone constantly and loudly enough for our entire group to hear. From family drama to her drunken escapades, we heard it all. The absolute worst was when she was on the phone telling someone about her yeast infection. The young guy that sat behind her said he knew about her than he knew about his own wife.  Shannon in Charlotte, NC
  • I was in a superhero/comic book movie, X-Men 3 I think.   There was a couple near by.  The wife constantly asked what was going on, the husband constantly told her, being sure to include the entire back story for each character because the movie didn’t show it or got it wrong. I loudly shushed them in a crowded theater and people clapped.  Abel Goddard
  • I work in the field of competitive analysis and I had a stroke of synchronicity in that one of the competitors I was tracking was sitting behind me in an airplane flight home after I attended a trade show in an unrelated industry.  These guys had loud voices and were broadcasting how great their company was and some of their strategic plans.  They were pretty obnoxious and full of ego. I couldn’t believe anyone would hold such a conversation publicly.  People forget where they are in the spirit of the conversation and blurt out stuff that they have no business sharing with anyone.  Ellen Naylor
  • Most notably, while riding the 6 train home from work, two professional men (suits, tie clips, brief cases, etc) get on the train and continue with the following exchange.  Man 1:  It's not like I demanded a bl****b from her or anything, but if she's going to imply that she'd give me one, obviously I'd take her up on that.  Man 2:  I mean, she's your assistant and not your client, so it's not that bad.  I wish my assistant were that helpful.  Jackie Brook
  • Several months ago, on a train ride home on the Long Island Rail Road, after a long day in New York City, I, and scores of my weary fellow commuters in a packed car, were subjected to the gratingly irritating voice of a loud mouthed young woman who conducted a long phone interview, in a loud voice, for a job she was applying for.  After 15-20 minutes of it, as the muttering increased in frequency and intensity around her, we were all offered some karmic revenge. Because when this rude buffoon launched into a recitation outlining her “great sales skills,” all of us suffering commuters chimed in, IN VERY LOUD COMMENTS, things like “No you don’t” and “Notsomuch” and “No sales skills at all” and so on.  She finally shut up.  I felt happy.  Denise Pace
  • I was on a small jet that was grounded because of bad weather. It was very close quarters so it was easy to eavesdrop whether I wanted to or not. A guy two rows behind me was on his phone and I heard him say, "No, I didn't get to see my daughter on this trip." Apparently, the person he was talking to asked why and he said, "Because of the restraining order." The young man seated next to me rolled his eyes and whispered, "Should he be saying that/" My thoughts exactly.  Barbara Winter
  • Early in my career I had a job interview with the head of account service at a small ad agency. He took me out to lunch for a talk, and talk he did. He was not only an incessant yakker; he had the obnoxious habit of talking with his mouth full. He'd bite his sandwich, and continue talking. It was like watching a load of laundry getting dried at the Laundromat. The sandwich would toss about his mouth, his chatter causing the teeth to chomp and chew until the sandwich bite was transformed into a gross cud. Then he'd raise a finger to indicate "one moment, please" and swallow. He would take a quick drink, load another sandwich bite into his pie hole, and begin talking some more. I nodded approval like a bobble head to whatever it was he was talking about. It was hard to pay attention to what he said with the disgusting floor show going on in his mouth. After a few bites, he had some mayo on the side of his mouth. I didn't feel it my place to tell him about this, so he went through the entire lunch conversation trying not to stare at his mayo souvenir. Finally, when we got up to leave, he wiped his mouth clean. I was offered the job, took it, and had the pleasure of watching him eat and talk with a full mouth many more times. He never did choke, however, which was too bad since I didn't know the Heimlich maneuver back then.  Patrick Scullin
  • Last but not least, my story.  I was packed on to a Southwest flight, the dreaded middle seat, when the gentleman (and I use that term loosely) next to me began to sweat profusely and yell into the phone.  “They think I embezzled how much money from the company?”  “Well, it wasn’t THAT much.”  

Seems we all have a story of a talker somewhere; in a movie, over a meal, on a train or plane, all over this country.  And there doesn’t seem to be a cure in sight.  Perhaps you could post these facts and we can start to spread the word:   

  • I can hear everything you are saying on your cell phone
  • I can hear you talking in the movies no matter how quiet you think you are
  • I can hear you sing even though you have on your ear buds
  • I can see the food in your mouth when you eat and talk at the same time
  • I can record or video you and have it up on a website in seconds
  • It is rude to text or talk on your cell phone when someone is talking to you
  • I can see your butt when you wear a thong bathing suit 

OK?  Good.  Pass this on.  Let’s get this solved and we can move on to customer service. BTW, there’s a great sale at Jim Pruett’s Guns & Ammo this week. 

 

*Thanks to the followers of Peter Shankman on HARO.  All the stories you sent were amazing.  I am sorry I didn’t have room for all of them!

 

You can reach Dayna Steele at dayna@daynasteele.com, on Facebook, Twitter @daynasteele or www.daynasteele.com.  Rock on….

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