• No products in the cart.
  • No products in the cart.
Back To Top
Image Alt



I’ve never had a hard time in person working with groups, speaking from the stage, conducting workshops. At least, not with the subject matter or interaction. But I have had problems with people who demand personal temperature settings. How do I change the heating or cooling for 20 or more people based on one person’s demand? (I prefer rooms slightly chilly because I find it’s a far better learning environment than being overly warm.)

I usually tell the requester, quite politely, check with everyone else and make a decision based on their preferences. (Which means usually nothing is changed.) But this is a sign of a certain amount of self-centeredness, as is someone demanding a certain type of meal—not for religious reasons, but for personal ones (“I can’t eat anything that casts a shadow”). Or someone who demands we change the seating, because they read about seating “maximization” in some ridiculous book.

In any case, here a great lesson I learned, incredibly, on the train.

I’m sitting in a half-empty first class car on the Acela traveling from Providence to New York. It’s August and about 95°. The car is quite comfortable. A woman gets on in New Haven and informs the attendant that it’s far too cold on the car. She has on short-shorts, a bare-midriff blouse tied in a bow, and sandals. Nothing else, no sweater or shawl or covering. The attendant says, “I’ll take care of it,” and heads for the rear of the car. I follow him and comment, “You can’t decrease the temperature just because of her.”

“Follow me,” he says. We arrive at the back or the car where there are no temperature controls at all, and he looks at this watch. After a while he says, “Okay, that’s 90 seconds.” We return to the front and he says to the woman, “Is that better?”

“Yes,” she says, “thank you so much.”

The attendant winks at me and returns to work.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Post a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.