I am writing this as I sit in a Panera Bread. Panera, like Atlanta Bread are two of my favorite places to eat lunch. They have Wi-Fi which enables me to enjoy a "working lunch". I can send emails, work on proposals, etc.
Today, however, I am sitting here trying to tune myself into what is going on around me. It's a fun little exercise I like to do from time to time. I stop and just listen and try to identify all the sounds around me. Not just the murmurs of conversation, but there is the ice maker, the sounds of tea or soda being poured into cups, the "pop" as the plastic lid clicks in place on the cup, the banging of trays, the clicks of high heels on the ceramic floor, etc.
What is also a fun thing to do is look around at faces as folks are engaging (more or less) in conversation. For example, there is a couple across the room from me. They appear to be having a nice conversation. However, upon closer look, the gentleman has his legs crossed, is turned slightly away from the woman, has his chin in his hands and looks as though he is a million miles away. I even saw his eyes drift across the restaurant as if looking for an escape route. The woman, on the other hand, is leaning on the table towards him, is using her hands to gesture and emphasize her points, is laughing, and you can see the smile behind her eyes.
This is a couple on different wave lengths and at different places.
Then there are the sales conversations. There always seem to be a lot of sales presentations going on when I am in one of these restaurants. I guess it is just a fairly neutral territory to meet and present. I can spot these conversations from a mile away, perhaps it is because I am a sales person. You can also spot the excitement in the sales person's voice and the glazed over look in the receiver's eyes. It is quite amusing to observe.
Anyway, just a fun little exercise. Next time you are out somewhere, pay attention. Notice the details. I always believe it is the details that tell the whole story. It is in the details where the truth actually lies.