Privacy has always been a critical part of business. There's
plenty of scenarios surrounding privacy, including keeping
proprietary client information secure and not letting a product
introduction be compromised.
reality is that sensitive facts and conversations are constantly
swirling around in a massive collection of communication –
oral and written. With new technologies and more business
being done on the road, there are additional chances to reveal
sensitive information and even less privacy.
Laptop computers, e-mail, faxes
and cell phones are just some of the newer communication modes that can pose
a problem for privacy. All it takes is one indiscreet comment, overheard conversation,
intercepted e-mail or lost fax. The results can be embarrassing, if not catastrophic.
The best way to protect against
having sensitive information stolen or overhead is to not discuss it or leave
a paper trail. When taking a road trip (business or pleasure) only bring essential
Some people try to obtain corporate
secrets in public places. If you're on public transportation (planes, buses,
trains, etc.), remember that others can view your laptop computer screen.
Don't work on confidential information like client materials, performance
appraisals, corporate presentations, etc.
E-mail can also cause problems.
Although on the surface, e-mails seem private, they're anything but. Even
when an e-mail recipient or sender deletes a message, it's easily retrieved
from trash files and hard drives. Remember to watch what you say. Consider
what may happen if the message is read by someone else. You wouldn't want
a client's secrets revealed or your off-color joke to be read by the wrong
As with e-mail, faxes are not always private. The intended
recipient may not be the person retrieving the fax. If faxing
to public places like hotels, always leave out any sensitive
phones are a great way to keep in touch while traveling. But
remember where you are before you start speaking – it's a
matter of privacy and courtesy. If you're using a cell phone
on a bus, train or plane, people will eavesdrop – it's impossible
not to. It's up to you to ensure they won't hear something
they shouldn't. Even if you've taken measures to protect your
privacy, using mobile phones (and other cordless phones) can
be risky – others may be able to listen in on your conversations
on the same channel or if the signal crosses.
Privacy is not just an issue
for road warriors. Most people don't travel on business; they work in traditional
work environments. Many workers exist in a maze of cubicles or partitions
with no doors and, therefore, no privacy.
People who work in cubicles need
to remember the unspoken rule of cubicle etiquette: Yes, you overhear every
word that's spoken by your neighbors, but you need to act like you are not
listening. What should you do if confidential business information is overheard?
Keep it to yourself! The same is true for any personal details that you may
unavoidably hear. You will create lasting and productive relationships with
fellow workers – a content cubicle community – if you remember the proper
protocol behind cubicle survival.
The overriding rule of thumb
when it comes to business privacy is to always be careful where you hold a
conversation or when you communicate. You never know who may overhear you.
Whether it's client information, project and presentation materials, or inside-trader
information, ears are everywhere.
About Marjorie Brody
Article copyright 2000 Marjorie Brody and Brody Communications
Ltd. Marjorie Brody, MA, CSP, CMC, is an internationally recognized
expert and motivational speaker on career enhancement and
corporate etiquette who connects people to potential. She
has dedicated herself to the art of effective communication
and to helping individuals recognize the power they have within
for unlimited success. Marjorie has appeared on CNBC, Fox-TV,
Oxygen Network, and been quoted in The Wall Street Journal,
Washington Post, USA Today, People, Glamour, BusinessWeek,
Fortune and many other national publications. She is author
of 16 books, including Speaking is an Audience-Centered Sport,
and the four-booklet series 21st Century Pocket Guides to
Proper Business Protocol. Marjorie was selected one of "Pennsylvania's
1999 Best 50 Women in Business." She can be reached via e-mail
or visit her Web sites at
www.BrodyCommunications.com or www.MarjorieBrody.com.
1. Source: www.uselessknowledge.com
How to Keep
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