Drive through any small town across the United States and Canada and you will find a coffee shop, diner or pub where people gather to talk shop and have a coffee or beer. Talking to the neighbors about the latest goings on in the local area or the big news nationally can have its positives and negatives. The biggest negative being the spread of untrue gossip about neighbors’ financial health, cropping practices, the weather and the markets. Ever play a game of telephone and it turns out horribly wrong? That is usually what gossip does, the story changes into something that you need to divide by two or times by three.
These daily water cooler conversations can help to make you aware of things you should be doing or weren’t aware of. Word of mouth has always been the most powerful forms of marketing. News travels fast right?
Let’s be honest though, many of these coffee shop or so-called water cooler discussions can be damaging because they are simply not true.
Ever heard this conversation before?
Person 1: Did you know that Joe is going broke?
Person 2: Really? I never heard that
Person 1: Yeah, I heard that the bank told him last week he has a month to move to another bank. I knew he shouldn’t have bought that Smith quarter last year. Paid too much!!
Meanwhile the real reason that the farmer is switching banks is not because he is going broke but because he is choosing to move due to lower service and interest fees.
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Whether it’s at the coffee shop, at the family BBQ or on twitter, misinformation is rampant more than ever in our new world of instant communication. How you decipher and deal with rumors and gossip many times comes down to your over all ability to say, bullshit or follow-up to make sure that what you heard is really true. Many times stopping the gossip in its track would be to the benefit of many individuals before things get out of hand or someone is hurt over the false words. For some people, talking about the neighbors is what they enjoy, the truth is not something that gets in the way of a good story. That is quite sad.