Speak Eagle

Embarrassing Moments: Have Plant, Will Travel

Like many of us, I have a “mobile office.” That means I might meet a client at a coffee shop to design a killer keynote, in his or her office to rehearse a presentation, or on Skype from home to work on improving communication skills. But when I have a particularly “high-profile” client, I rent an office for an hour from Regus who owns the 6th floor of a swanky office building in the area.

However, there are drawbacks with renting an office for an hour. The first of which is carting your “accessories” in and out to help the office look a little warmer, a little more “lived-in.” You don’t want to cart in too many accessories, because traipsing in with an armload of stuff through a marble and glass lobby and traveling up 6 floors in an elevator feels a little…tacky. So you want to keep your accessories to a minimum. Like maybe a picture of your family and…a plant.

I suppose Regus is known for renting out short-term office space. Especially since their ads are all over TV and radio. But I like to imagine that my clients don’t know I’m renting the space for an hour. Like maybe I own the swanky 6th floor and just choose to inhabit my favorite office- you know, the small, plain one with no windows.

In any case, I try to arrive a good 10 minutes before my client and stay a good 10 minutes after my client leaves, just so he or she won’t catch me red-handed in the marble lobby with my plant. What could be worse?

regus officeSo…one day, anticipating a coaching session with a very successful businessman, I put my plan into action and reserve my office space. I arrive 10 minutes before, walk confidently through the marble lobby with my computer bag in one hand and my lovely green silk plant in the other. I travel up the 6 floors, am shown to my office by the receptionist, and have plenty of time to warm up my desk by setting the plant down and taking my family photo out of my bag. I even have time to spare.

My client arrives and the session goes very well. However, we end a few minutes over time. I show him to the door, shake his hand, head back to my office and look at the clock. I am already over my 1-hour rental agreement. But if I leave too quickly, I risk running into the businessman in the lobby or the parking lot. So…I very slowly put my laptop and family photo in my bag, straighten the trash can, adjust the angle of the desk phone, and pick up my plant. Then, I walk VERY slowly out of the office and down the hall.

I say goodbye to the receptionist and push the button VERY slowly to call the elevator. Unfortunately, it dings immediately. I step on, ride the 6 levels to the bottom and step off into the marble and glass lobby. I glance around. Whew. He’s gone.

I walk confidently across the lobby, and then, as if in slow motion, it happens. My client steps out of the bathroom. He looks at me. He looks at my plant.

I stand there, shell-shocked, wishing my plant were a large maple tree. Then, I smile. Somebody needs to say something. I say the first thing that comes to mind. “Have plant, will travel!”

He laughs a confused sort of laugh. “Right!”

I head out the doors to the parking lot. He’s right behind me. I watch him walk to his black Mercedes, and then I realize, he’s watching me walk to my vehicle too.

What could be worse than getting caught holding a plant? Setting that plant down in a minivan whose Odyssey sign has somehow fallen off the back.

Ah… the adventures of a mobile office. Forget pretenses. Friends, this is life.  

Have plant, will travel.

2 thoughts on “Embarrassing Moments: Have Plant, Will Travel”

  1. Love this! So hope that this man will recognize the value in you and count himself blessed to be your client!

    1. Thanks, Anne! You’re sweet. He did schedule another session with me after the plant incident, so I think it was a much bigger deal to me than it was to him. Who knows- maybe he has a mobile office, too! Ha.

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