Okay, so here’s the scenario. You’re at a business networking dinner party. There are at least 200 people in attendance. You are having a great time. This is not something you do often, but since a friend invited you, you decided to go. After all, your friend had an extra ticket that she did not want to go to waste.
You enjoy the hors d’oeuvres and conversation during the 5:00 pm cocktail hour as you wait for dinner to be served. Everyone is laughing and talking while the three-piece jazz band plays in the room. This is a black-tie event that you won’t soon forget. It’s now 6:00 pm and the doors are open for the attendees to go inside and take their assigned seat. You and your friend get your designated table card and proceed to find your table.
You and your friend walk inside and sit at your assigned table, which is table number 12. The conversation gets interesting at your table as some of the guests are very angry with the recent turn of events concerning the political structure in the United States. The wait staff comes around and asks each attendee if they want chicken, fish, beef or vegetarian. At that point, everyone places their orders for dinner. You ordered the beef, baked potato, and spinach. Oh, how you love spinach! While the keynote speaker spoke, everyone ate their dinner. Once the program was over, an announcement was made and the dance floor was open.
You realize that one of the attendees is someone you have been trying to schedule a meeting with to discuss an important business proposition. As much as you would rather not discuss the business proposition at the dinner party, it is vital to speak with the individual since you are the liaison on your job and the conversation could be very helpful in receiving more grant funding for your project. After all, this opportunity may not ever present itself again, and plus it is a business networking event so why not speak with him? So you seize the moment and go speak with the prospect.
You excuse yourself from the table and walk over to table number 14 where the business prospect is sitting. You introduce yourself and start engaging with the prospect. It seemed that he was engaged at first, but then somehow you lost his interest, and the prospect then said he needed to excuse himself to go and catch someone before they left the venue. You think to yourself, “I must have blown it somehow,” but you don’t know what happened and you return to your table disappointed. You explained to your friend that the conversation seemed to go well at first, but the prospect abruptly left the conversation. It was at that moment that you realized what happened.
Your friend looked at you with enlarged eyes and whispered to you, “You have spinach in your teeth.” The horrified look on your face had several emotions attached to it. You were embarrassed, upset, afraid and sad to name a few. If only you knew that ahead of time, you wouldn’t have gone over to the prospect until you removed the spinach. Your friend would have told you, but you left the table so quickly, and she didn’t see the spinach in your teeth before you left the table.
This is a short story that did not really happen, but it could have happened. I wrote the story this way to make a point. The other day, I was reading an advertisement flyer that was posted by an author who was attempting to sell an e-book. When I read the advertisement flyer, I noticed a couple of inconsistencies and a grammatical error. So, I contacted the author (privately through email) and let him know my discovery. I was very respectful and told him from one author to another, I just wanted to be helpful in case he was unaware of this so that the corrections could be made and so he would not potentially lose customers. Believe it or not some customers might look at errors as a negative because it shows your work wasn’t properly proofed and also may cause a potential customer to question the author’s credibility. I understand mistakes happen every now and then even to the best of us, but once the mistake is discovered, we should make every effort to correct it before the publication is seen by another 100,000 people or so.
Well, my efforts were viewed as negative from his standpoint, his ego got in the way of him receiving the information I gave him, and he was very rude and condescending in his comment to me. He told me that I should not do that again because all people do not take kindly to someone pointing out errors. I informed him that I only do it when I feel led to, and I don’t just arbitrarily point out errors to authors in everything that I read. He went on to say that his decades of research and writings show that writers don’t like people pointing out their errors and being the spelling police. I believe this is a foolish thought, but that’s just my opinion. I mentioned where I was coming from and that I know all too well that in the writing industry, there are many situations that arise and people cannot be thin-skinned in this industry at all. He responded negatively and rude once again and then I gave him an analogy.
I stated to him that “I guess I’m just different because I would like to know if I had ‘spinach in my teeth’ rather than walk around all night at a dinner party [with spinach in my teeth] and people laugh at me behind my back because of that.” I feel that a person who cares would discreetly tell you that you have spinach in your teeth instead of letting you embarrass yourself. So, when I write something, I guess I’m just different because I would like to know if I made an error so I could possibly correct that error rather than let it be seen by another 100,000 people or so and then hear that people are questioning my credibility as a writer. I find nothing wrong with a person discreetly contacting me about something like that. I never want to be the type of person whose ego is so large that I can’t hear when a person is trying to help me resolve a problem that I created. In that short email conversation, I learned a valuable lesson. It is apparent to me that some people would rather walk around with spinach in their teeth and be laughed at behind their back rather than be told they have spinach in their teeth. I was shocked that he basically agreed with that sentiment. I’m glad I’m not that way and hope I will never be like that. Live, laugh, love and pray and have a Happy New Year!
God Bless You with Good Health and Wellness,
Antoinette Shar’ron Johnson
“Empowering, inspiring, motivating and uplifting your mind, body and spirit!”