"This conversation is being recorded for sexual harassment training and for possible legal purposes. Are you okay with our continuing?"
That's illegal. That's crazy you say. That would stop nearly any conversation in its tracks if either of the participants is ticked off and likely to say something because of it.
But consider this. Aren't we frequently taped in customer service or sales conversations when we are told: "This conversation is being recorded for training purposes."
So why is this such an outrageous proposition? If someone has nothing to hide and always speaks respectfully to others, they have nothing to fear.
As a former FBI hostage negotiation trainer, crisis psychiatrist and interventionist I am increasingly being called into companies to "intervene" with abusive, but "irreplaceable" employees.
At a recent intervention I said to the group - including the CEO, COO, HR Director, labor attorney and abusive employee in question, "I would like to audiotape this meeting for harassment training if I continue to coach this individual and for possible legal purposes in the future if the company chooses to use it." And then I said nothing.
Immediately the tension and anxiety went through the roof. The CEO, who was already quite nervous about the meeting and the abusive employee were the most uptight. The HR director was intrigued by what the response would be. The COO waited to see what would happen. The CEO said to the in labor attorney, "I don't want that to happen and legally can he (me) even do that?"
The labor attorney said, "I think it's legal for him (me) to ask, but I don't think we are under any obligation to do it."
I then said to the labor attorney, "I'm okay with that, but may I ask the CEO and employee in question why they are refusing to allow me to tape this meeting? After all, if they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear and we have you and HR director present to weigh in and where either of you can say, 'I need to stop us here and can't allow this taping to proceed.'"
The labor attorney replied, "I believe there is nothing illegal about your asking that question."
Without going into further details (which I know you are waiting with baited breath to hear - and can contact us if you want to hear more about our services for dealing with sexual harassment at: email@example.com), you can imagine that this led to a highly effective way to get the elephant in the room out into the open.
The point is that companies would do well to get ahead of the curve because with law enforcement officers increasing using body cams and citizens live streaming any and everything they see in the world to Facebook, this kind of real time monitoring of conversations is right around the corner.
And for all you condescending, name calling, demeaning bosses who would not want to be taped, there is also an upside for you.
You can also do the taping with overly emotional, screaming and outlandish employees as a way to get them to show some self-restraint.
So in conclusion... "Smile, you're on candid audio."
P.S. Check out the source of the picture at the top. It's about what to do when "Your patient wants to record you."