Nothing Is Ever 'Off The Record'
By Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, PhD
When sharing information off the record know that nothing is off the record. If you tell someone anything understand that the chances that they will tell someone else is good. There are few situations where you are actually off the record, and even in those rare situations, like speaking to a priest or doctor, I would not trust that confidence. If you tell someone else it can, and most likely will, be repeated.
During my cooking class with Paula Deen, the Food Network star, she shared that she had an interview with a reporter that turned out to be very embarrassing. When the reporter arrived at her home, Paula was in the middle of fixing breakfast for Michael, now her husband, at the time her boyfriend. She asked the reporter to wait just a second because she had a man in her bed and she wanted to bring him breakfast. Paula had assumed this information would be off the record, and of course it wasn't and appeared in the article. I too have had the experience of talking to a reporter and assuming that at one point we were talking off the record. It wasn't and everything that I said but didn't want printed was right there in black and white. As I was having one of my work dates at my local Panera, I overheard two men talking. One of the men said to the other, "Okay tell me off the record what you think." Without any hesitation his companion said, "I never talk off the record because there is really no such thing." He is exactly right.
Even if you are not speaking to a reporter know that what you say is never off the record. It can and most likely will be repeated. Since my experience, I live by the rule of never saying anything I do not want printed on the front page of the newspaper. I often tell my clients to never say anything they don't want printed in the company newspaper or put on the company Web site. If you have a need to talk to someone about a private subject or just something you don't want repeated, tell it to your dog or cat. Those truly are the only beings that won't be tempted to repeat it.
People love to gossip and share "in the know" information. Know that whatever you say to another person runs the risk of being repeated. I know this is harsh, but in my experience it is true. It is important to have people you can talk to on a deep and open level. Select only a chosen few and share your deepest thoughts, secrets and ideas with those chosen few. Even then you can never be 100% sure it will be off the record. The actor Michael Douglas found this out the hard way when his ex-wife wrote a tell all book about their life together. I don't want you to be paranoid, just be aware. Keep in mind that there are no guarantees that what you say will forever and always be kept off the record.
About the Author
Coach Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, PhD, is the publisher of the award winning e-zine, 365 Days of Coaching. Her first book, 365 Days of Coaching – Because Life Happens Every Day (Universal Publisher, 2004) was named a finalist for Best Book 2004 by Publish.com and has a five star rating on Amazon.com. Visit Coach Lee at her websites coachlee.com and 365daysofcoaching.com. True Direction, Inc. Copyright
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