A few days ago, my wife and I were enjoying some quiet time in the hot tub at our vacation resort. Within a few minutes, another couple came along and joined us in the hot tub. No problem. We always enjoy meeting new people, finding out where they’re from, and what they do.
In this case, the woman did 95% of the talking … and never did bother to find out anything about the two of us. Again, no problem. The problem came when she began to talk about her work, saying she was a trainer for municipal governments across the country. Apparently she did a lot of training and was paid very well for doing so.
But I was shocked at WHAT she had to say about her customers … or clients … or seminar attendees. Over and over again she talked about how stupid they were. And she painted a broad picture (her picture, mind you) of government employees as being lazy, demotivated, uninformed, and incompetent.
First of all, I was shocked that she would talk about her customers that way. I learned a long time ago to always give thanks for my customers, and if at all possible, work with my customers to solve their problems and enhance their lives. As the old saying goes, you should never bite the hand that feeds you.
Second, I was shocked that she would tell me … a total stranger … about her negative opinion of her customers. She had no idea who I was or what I do for a living. For all she knew, I could have been a municipal government employee who could have been deeply offended or passed on her opinions to others who would have been deeply offended. She was endangering her career.
Let me give you all one piece of advice. You never know who’s in your audience; so be careful what you say. Be very careful of putting down anyone, especially your customers.