The Battle of the Atlantic occurred during the entire course of America’s involvement in the European theatre of war during World War Two. It was a deadly struggle pitting American and allied naval and merchant shipping forces against the wolfpacks of the German U Boats. Our British allies were in desperate need of supplies and the axis forces were intent on stopping us from delivering them. Many American and allied sailors gave their lives in this battle. To them we owe a debt of gratitude.
A lasting slogan still in use to this day from that epic struggle is the phrase “loose lips sink ships”. While several German spies and saboteurs had been captured on American shores there was a fear that many remained undetected. Hence, sailors, dock workers and the public at large were advised to keep quiet about shipping operations. Details regarding such movements if they wound up in the wrong hands could result in catastrophic results.
The sage advice given back then is still wise counsel to follow today. Those in the business world are wise to keep their activities confidential. Those involved with a legal claim should watch what they say and where they say it as well.
I am always amazed at what I hear people say in a public setting. I once was walking down a city street in route to my car. The fellow in front of me traveling at the same pace had a very loud cadence and was relaying his upcoming business conquest to the home office via cell phone. Quite annoying but impossible not to hear. He had flown down to Georgia to land a big deal. I was not interested when he identified his customer. However, I became very interested when he identified his competitor as it was a client of mine. The mental giant then proceeded to identify who their big gun was they were going to fly down and close the deal. Keep in mind, I was not eavesdropping. Anyone within 50 feet heard every word coming out of his mouth. Sometime after he finished his phone call, we made eye contact when waiting to cross a street and I said good afternoon. The gent had a smug and arrogant demeanor and did not respond in kind. When I made it to my car I jotted down a few notes. When back in the office I immediately called my client and relayed the information. They were very grateful and took action post haste to protect their business interest. Big Mouth’s target was a large existing customer of my client. One they retained in part due to the information the man in the expensive suit had broadcast to the world. I would have loved to have seen the expression on his face when he learned the news.
Countless examples can be given of people who have made similar transgressions when it comes to discussing their confidential legal issues. Remember that while there is an attorney client privilege between a lawyer and a client, there is no privilege on information shared with others. When you openly tell a friend about your situation at a café, all you are doing is making them a potential witness in a legal dispute. One never knows who the server or the people at the next table know. They very well might be friends with an adverse party and immediately call them.
One final note to business travelers in airports. Use caution and speak in an indoor voice when conducting business in an airport lounge. A fellow traveler might start taking notes and contact a competitor of a particularly obnoxious person sharing their sales plans. I did when a guy was so loud that I could not read my book. It was a good book and I figured it was the least I could do to repay him.
All of us can use good advice in our work and personal matters. Call the one you can trust. Contact Chris today … click here.