The direction a conversation takes is often dictated by how it starts

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of heated discussions between colleagues in the security industry and people that they interact with.

Some colleagues seem to be constantly stressed out and arguing with people.

So here are my thoughts:

“The direction a conversation takes is often dictated by how it starts”

So while:

‘Oi, where are you going?

is more than likely going to raise a few hackles

‘Good morning, how can I help you?

probably won’t

It’s not rocket science, speak to people the way you would like to be spoken to!

Just last week I stopped in front of a building to check my phone for directions. While squinting at the small screen for google maps the security officer came out and told me ‘no photographs mate, move along’!

It took me a bit to work out he was speaking to me, well, at me at least.

I asked him what the issue was? Not allowed to take pictures here mate, be on your way!

The penny dropped! I politely asked who he was and why he thought that he had authority over me in a public space?

None of your business who I am mate, ‘f**k off or I’ll call the police and get you nicked!

While not claiming any special skills I’m basing my judgment that he was a security officer on the basis that he was in uniform, had an SIA license around his neck on a lanyard and that he retreated back inside a building after I politely declined his invitation to FO.

He picked up the phone and spoke to someone, looking very irate. After 20 minutes, I went inside and asked him how long the police were going to take to arrive?

By this stage, the gentleman had lost all interest in speaking with me and asked me to leave his building. Now, this last request I obviously complied with. Unlike outside on the pavement, he now had the authority to make this request seeing as I was then on private property.

I don’t normally go out of my way to give my colleagues in the industry a hard time, however, this incident is a classic example of an officer creating a problem out of nothing!

Be wise! Excuse me, please and thank you, combined with a calm and professional manner, will make your working life a lot easier…

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About the Author: Michael O'Sullivan