You could be revealing confidential information and secrets without even knowing and causing problems for yourself or your company.
Cafes have become a new place of doing business but you never know who is listening and what secrets you are revealing. Also be careful when talking on public transport or on your mobile you may be intent on your conversation and not realise who could be listening.
I was reading this article about confidentiality and secrecy and how we need to be careful in public places as you never know who is listening, it said:
While running the executive recruiting department for a Fortune 100 company, I once overheard a conversation between two people at a well-known coffee bar. Based on their dialog, I found out they were executives from my company’s main competitor and were discussing a candidate they had just interviewed. Said candidate was a high-potential executive at my Fortune 100, and like many executive candidates, this person was a valued employee and not an active job seeker. The indiscretion of the two leaders from the competing company could have put their candidate’s career at risk, or at the very least, jeopardized his interest in continuing conversations with them.
We are not as careful any more in public places we are chatting away doing business, and are unaware of who could be listening. It has become a new trend of doing business in cafes – “let’s have a light lunch” – “let’s catch up for coffee”, it really means let’s talk business. Also companies like to have informal interviews and they like to meet in a café where it is more relaxed. Some companies have meetings at a local café, because they do not have enough meeting rooms or they want something more informal and the nearest café becomes their usual meeting place. If I was a competitor I would be popping in for coffee every now and then, and I would probably know when the best times would be to do so!
This article also reminded me of an experience that I had a few years ago, so watch out for public transport as well!
At the time I was a Senior Manager with one of the major recruitment firms and I was being head hunted to join one of our major competitors. They had been trying to get me to move for years. After many attempts I thought I might as well go talk to them and see what they had to offer, you never know it may be worth considering. I visited their offices, they were very nice and went out of their way to impress me. We had a good meeting, they dangled as many carrots as they could to get me to be interested, it was looking quite promising to the extent that they showed me around the office, where I would be working and got me to meet some of their people. After the interview I got the train home, I was sitting on the train thinking about the offer, it was tempting, but at the end of the day are they really going to be better? Now what is the probability of this happening?! Two seats in front of me I recognised two executives from the place I had just been for an interview. They were talking very animated about their manager, the person who had just interviewed me. Now, they could just have had a bad day and were letting off steam, but they were not saying the nicest things about their boss. This seemed to be the sign I needed! It told me two things one that the executives where indiscreet (I actually thought stupid and unprofessional at the time). Also they were not saying good things about their manager the person trying to impress me and there could be some truth in what they were saying. Needless to say I did not take the job!
Especially be on the look out when talking on your mobile phone, especially in quieter places, like a bus, train or cafe, they can hear every word you are saying and if they are bored and quietly eating their lunch they will be listening, you can’t help it!