Sunday afternoon in Myrtle Beach, SC, with the final pieces of my new 5-Star Online Review Blueprint info-product to plan out.
What is a guy to do?
Did I stay indoors and stalk the mass conversation I’d started this morning on Facebook?
Or did I head to the beach? OK, I guess the title of this blog post gave it away.
I was in ‘the zone’ – getting everything down on paper while topping up my tan (I look so washed out in my passport photo, I’m hoping I’ll still have some color by the time I return to England at the end of September).
And then ‘The Loudest Girl On The Beach’ turned up. She announced her arrival to her male friend, who was happily sitting there, reading quietly. I don’t think she knows the meaning of the word ‘quiet’.
But this wasn’t a classy restaurant, where your evening gets interrupted by the loud table celebrating their friend going to law school. No, that was New Orleans last week. And you should have seen how painful it was for the restaurant staff who felt very awkward about saying anything at all to ‘The Loudest Table In The Restaurant’.
I had my own solution to The Loudest Girl On The Beach.
I wasn’t going to ask her to keep it down. I spent a moment thinking through all the different scenarios and how they might play out. I thought through all the smartass comments I could make, whether before or after trying to make friends with this small group of teenagers.
Eventually I realized that there was but one solution. It involved saying nothing at all.
All I had to do was pick up my beach chair and move it further away from The Loudest Girl On The Beach.
30 yards ought to do it, right?
I had to go further.
The picture you see does not do justice to how far away The Loudest Girl On The Beach could be heard.
The point is – it was entirely within my power to put myself back in ‘the zone’. I didn’t have to blame anyone for disturbing me. I didn’t have to feel like a victim. All I had to do was pick up my chair and move it.
If you’re in control of what you’re doing, and you won’t let anyone else mess with your ‘stuff’ and what you need to get done, then you need to find a solution that doesn’t require someone else playing along with you and what you’re trying to do. You cannot be at the mercy of what someone else does if you’re determined to succeed.
I did what I needed to do and it worked out fine for me. I got my planning done.
The Loudest Table In The Restaurant
The solution got me thinking back to the The Loudest Table In The Restaurant. How would a creative communicator like myself have dealt with it? If I’d chosen to deal with it at the beginning of my evening, instead of letting The Loudest Table In The Restaurant interrupt my conversation with my friend far too often, what would I have done? If only the solution was as simple as moving my chair…
I didn’t think about it too much, but here’s an idea I had. Let me know in the comments what you think.
It was apparent when I spoke to the restaurant staff that everyone was bothered by The Loudest Table In The Restaurant. Every other table and every server thought they were far too loud. But no-one did anything.
So here’s the idea I had. I would have stood up and clanged my glass with some silverware to silence the whole restaurant.
Then I would have said, loudly, but in a friendly and polite manner:
“The table over there, we all hear you celebrating. We’d all like to congratulate you. Please tell us what you’re celebrating!”
At which point, they would have responded that their friend had just got into law school.
“Congratulations again! I’m sure that each person in this restaurant wishes you every success in your future.”
I would then have continued…
“Now, as you may appreciate, just as you are celebrating, so are many of us too. We are all out to have a great evening. And we understand your excitement. But perhaps you guys have just a little too much energy for some of the guests in this restaurant who may have been hoping for a slightly quieter environment.
“So I have a proposal, and, I would imagine, the support of my fellow patrons here. Here’s the deal guys. Order yourself a nice bottle of wine. When you’re ready for your check at the end of your evening, if we all think you guys have been considerate enough of everyone else dining here, and kept the noise down a little – so that we can ALL enjoy our evening – then we’ll split the cost of that bottle between us all. I’ll even buy that bottle for you myself if no-one else here wants to back me up.
“But, if at the end of your evening, we all agree that you guys have just been too darn noisy for the rest of us to enjoy ourselves, then you guys will split between you the cost of everyone else’s drinks in this restaurant. Whaddya say? Is that a deal?”