Far more years ago than I care to remember, I was on the conveyer belt of non-state schooling which drummed into me on a daily basis that not going to university meant that you were a total loser, destined to amount to precious little in life. One such teacher espousing this view was called Gerald Tanner. It turned out he was a god-squader. He also ran sessions meant to ‘prepare students for life’. These were weekly 1hr20 plenaries with subjects such as ‘relationships’. Most of us were uninterested, as you can imagine. One lesson got to debating the art of polite conversation, and whether uni hall bars were pits of unfettered shagging, or left-wing idealist chanting. I was firmly in the camp hoping for all of the former, none of the latter 🙂 so agreed with a classmate venturing that topics not up for discussion with newly found pals were politics and religion. Mr Tanner wasn’t necessarily of the same opinion given his belief in things such as womankind heralds from a fella’s rib. The chat was quite vocal, given that we all, in keeping with the vast majority of people I reckon, are anywhere on the scale of being highly offended to mildly ambivalent on having to believe some joker apparently walked on water in order to have any moral fibre or altruistic spirit.
I mention this memory, as Friday I met a genuinely decent chap called John Morris in Sheffield’s industrial heart. The services we were talking about in part included where my team becomes the voice of the sales managers initiatives by calling the reps in the field up about stuff, capturing then sharing the results. Many people like the concept and we’ve earned several lovely customers for it. His approving comment was “even Jesus needed twelve little buddies to get his points out”. I loved this. John though, immediately got a touch troubled, “you’re not religious, are you?”. Religion, clearly, is a kind of ailment.
Thankfully for John, he was in the clear. Even if I was, in these archaic terms, would I not have forgiven him? Anyway, the message from all those years ago probably remains true; bringing up religion and politics in a sales chat are one surefire way to help you kiss business goodbye.