Friday, 26 October 2007

Pet peeves: Business edition

I've spent the last week or so on the West Coast for work. The West Coast of the U.S., that is -- I suppose the term is relative to whatever land mass you happen to be on, except perhaps Antarctica, but there just aren't the same number of cellular telecommunications industry conferences happening there (though things are just about as colourful, and the suits look similar). "The West Coast" is like "The City" -- when I was growing up, that meant San Francisco, which was the only city of note within striking range. Now, in London, "The City" means the square mile City of London within central London where all the banks (and the tube station named, creatively, Bank) are located.

The worst part about business is the businesspeople. Of which, as things happen, I am one, occasionally, more or less. But at least I try to follow some basic rules, like the following:

1. While peeing in the men's room, do not talk on your mobile phone. This is true whether you're talking to a man or a woman. Let's face it, you shouldn't even be checking your voicemail. Even on your Bluetooth headset. In fact, especially on your Bluetooth headset.
2. The stalls are no better. Just let it go, man.
3. In the same vein, answering your phone in the crowd in the middle of a session or presentation with "Hey, hold on a minute," then pushing your way out with the phone held to your era, is actually not a polite way of being unobtrusive and respectful of the event.
4. If you're going to bring product literature to give away at your booth, make sure that somewhere along the long production process, from concept to design to implementation to the final printing, someone with half a brain proofreads your brochure. If your primary product information, after this process, is a pamphlet describing your "Software Develpoment Kit", do not expect my pity, or business.
5. Consistency, consistnecy, consestincy. Proofreading applies not only to your printed material, but to your lame-ass powerpoint presentations as well. For example, while it's true that "behavioral" is a complex word that has stumped many a fourth-grader on their spelling test, fortunately, modern innovations in computing technology have made entire dictionaries available to us at the touch of a button. Thus, you have no excuse to have the same word on the slide twice, spelled "behaviorial" on top and "behavorial" below.
6. If you're trying to create the impression of being a polished, extemporaneous speaker, beginning your speech with "hold on, I can't see the prompter" is a dead giveaway.

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