(RealSimple.com) -- Question: Nothing bugs me more than when I am on a business call and the person I'm speaking with is chewing and talking at the same time.
How do I ask him to refrain from eating his lunch during our phone conversation?
---Posted by SHELLY853
Answer: Back when I was an editor, I was giving notes to one of my freelance writers over the phone when I heard the sound of gushing water in the background.
I jokingly asked if he happened to be at Niagara Falls, and he laughed and said, "No, I'm just taking a bath." Stunned, I stammered, "Ummm, I guess it's not a good time," to which he replied, "No, no, it's perfect. Go on."
Not surprisingly, someone who is clueless enough to take a bath or eat his lunch or do any number of other inappropriate things while on the phone is unlikely to realize that his behavior is unprofessional.
If you've already tried the "This sounds like it's not a good time" approach and your colleague keeps chomping, I would take it one step further and say, "I'm a bit distracted, so I'd rather wait until you're not eating. That way, we can both focus. How's next Tuesday at 10?"
At that point, the muncher will have to weigh whether he really wants to reschedule the call or if it is worth setting aside his panini. One hopes he would put down the sandwich.
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