Vent responsibly or not at all
Bad days are inevitable for anyone doing business. Therefore, we may periodically feel the urge to let off some steam by venting to others. In stressful times having someone to relate to can comfort us and make us feel that we are not alone. There is also the relief of getting something that has been on our mind out in the open. Considering the emotion state that leads us to vent we must exercise caution and remember to vent responsibly.
Vent responsibly about business and clients
Through networking we often find other business people going through similar situations. We discuss challenges and discover similar pain points. Conversations reveal insights on how others handled difficult circumstances. They may also unearth advice on what we should not do. We benefit from this transparency and willingness to share. It is only fair that we share our experiences and insights with others as well, right? While this is true we should keep a few things in mind.
Do not disclose confidential information
It is one thing to share with others but a completely different story when we overshare. Some aspects of business may be confidential. Other information may provide our competitors with a competitive advantage. Venting about these specific details may be detrimental to the health of our business. There may also be legal ramifications for disclosing information about a business that the public should not be privy to – think insider trading.
We are always a representative of our business and brand – in good times and in bad (whether we like it or not). Going on an uncontrollable rant may not reflect well on our business. Any profanity or obscenities are likely to offend some people as well. While it may be necessary to express emotion it is helpful to always remember our brand voice and brand image.
Protect client rights and consider their expectations
Trust is a big part of business and clients usually hire people they trust to get the job done and to get it done in a certain manner. Clients have a right to privacy. Would you like discussing a job with a company only to go home and see a post on the company’s social media account about the annoying and demanding client they just dealt with? Clients should be respected despite personal opinion – especially in public forums.
Remember potential clients are always watching
Whenever we make a public statement, especially on the internet, we must assume that anyone can see it – including potential clients. If we come across as disrespectful, rude and indiscreet it will negatively impact our business. Even if the client we are discussing never sees what we have published others considering our business might be turned off. There is also the possibility that today’s “bad” client may actually be reasonable in the future. A personnel change or a change of mood and environment may uncover misunderstandings or misinterpretations that affected past business.
When there is a risk that venting may negatively impact our business or professionalism it is important to decide whether venting is really necessary. It is also wise to consider the forum in which we vent. Venting with someone face to face is not as far reaching as posting it on social media for all to see. In some circumstances if we have to vent it is helpful to maintain a bit of anonymity and not mention exact names or businesses to protect their identities and prevent any defamation. We may also want to calm down before we vent about an emotionally sensitive topic. This allows us to think more clearly and articulate our thoughts better.
6 Virtues, and 6 Vices, of Venting (Psychology Today, 2014)