Picture this scene. Location: general drinks area in a gym. Main players: 2 personal trainers chatting. Environment & Ambiance: it’s midday on a weekend. Gym members are milling about, some reading the papers, some cooling down after workout, most are just having an isotonic drink or two after group exercise classes.
Eavesdropping skills are not necessary. I could hear them clearly from where I sat. They were discussing the merits (demerits, more likely) of their Personal Training (PT) clients. They found their clients’ wobbly bits very amusing (and then some!) and they were not in a hurry to lower their voices or even take the conversation someplace else. If they were uncomfortable with the fact that others could hear them, it didn’t show.
What does this behavior indicate?
For the more liberal among us, this could indicate a healthy sense of youthful fun. Pretty normal for 2 young chaps to have a good laugh, you might say. They don’t mean any harm by it, you might think.
What if one of the people who stumbled on their chat happens to be friends with the subjects of that particular discussion? What if those 2 (or any other members of staff, for the matter) got too comfortable chatting and don’t realize the subject(s) of their discussion was nearby? What then? Loss of trust, loss of face. Major ouch.
That’s why it’s a better idea to look around first before embarking on that juicy piece of gossip. More so if we are in a service provider environment. Gossiping about your gym member clients in the area where the gym members mill around is not just a bad idea, it’s a foolish one. Members (customers – many service providers have forgotten that members ARE paying customers, but that’s another story for another time) would have a bad experience; remembering how ‘loose lips sink ships’. It’s best to revert to the briefing notes and remember:
- Need to gossip about your clients? Find a private environs. Remember the saying ‘the walls have ears?’ Believe it, babe.
- Need to blog about them? Go ahead. Be direct if you can afford it; drop innuendos and hints to avoid using actual names if you can’t. Case in point: my post right now.
- Need to gossip about your clients? Just DON’T. They trust you with their insecurities and you betray that trust by behaving the way you do.
More next time.