Americans spend about $1 billion annually to manage bad breath. Dental visits, tooth brushing, tongue scraping, gum, mints and even antacids are part of the arsenal of weapons we use to prevent our breath from offending people around us.

I have a ZERO COST solution to the real sewage coming out of your mouth.

I’m not writing about bad breath. I’m writing about the curse words and other detritus you spew. The F-bomb, S-bomb, cr_p, and the whole list of crude terms you use for body parts. The sleazy, denigrating terms you use to describe people. The disgusting images and word pictures you give us on your posts, blogs, tweets and just about everywhere you leave your mark. Even filthy words on those “inspirational” signs you’re posting. And, of course the hash tags – must have curse word to be cool?

Here’s the excuse I hear from clients. “But, you can buy greetings cards with these words! You can watch prime time television and hear them! Look on Facebook and listen in on meetings: everyone is doing it!”

My counsel is this: When you write a TV show that gets picked up, or you’re paid to write greeting cards with profanity, or you no longer need prospects or prospective employers to hire you, retain you or promote you: go for it! Say all the curse words and profanity you can’t wait to spit out.

But not now. Stop it. You have no idea how swiftly you are ruining your reputation, your personal brand and your chances to get ahead in business.

Yes, I know all the cool kids seem to be doing it. We get mouth sewage dumped into business calls, meetings, and social networks. These are places that memorialize all the disgusting, disturbing, degrading filth you could imagine.

And it’s not just words. There’s the gross innuendo and double entendre. I was in a multi-million-dollar venture conference call on Wednesday, and a vendor said, “Wow, you better watch how much exposure you’re promising! You don’t want people to say you exposed yourself! Ha ha!” Really? The marketing director had to explain to this guy that we are spending millions of dollars on advertising to gain exposure in the New York market. Now Mr. Exposure will no longer be in meetings with anyone of merit.

Another meeting involved an embarrassing exchange where the project manager said to our CEO, “Wow, your girlfriend has been incredibly helpful securing investors for this service we’re launching. Make sure you keep servicing her! Ha ha!” He will not be included in investor meetings or our government briefings.

On Sunday night, I attended a workshop given by an author recommended to me by my business partner. In 45 minutes the author hit the audience with 17 curse words. She got laughs but no offers to speak again by the meeting planners, and I left early so I didn’t have to have to risk an up close and personal sewage encounter.

In the last ten days, I have clocked 90 hours of meetings, conversations and presentations. Not a single hour has been sewage free. And, these are all business interactions. Major conference presentations. Meetings with vendors and job seekers. Conversations by phone with clients. Interviews with job candidates.

The cost of sewage mouth is outrageous. I have now watched 5 deals and 2 job offers get taken off the table because sewage mouth cost the individuals the opportunity. I have endured conversations with people that I will not do business with again, once the current deal is over. I did not recommend otherwise qualified speakers, consultants, coaches, and prospective employees – because they cannot stop sewage flowing of their mouths – and I cannot risk my reputation recommending someone who speaks like this. Some I have told directly, and nearly every single person gave me some rendition of: “Oh you’re just sensitive to it. Nobody else cares.”

Okay. Maybe only 20% of us want a sewage free environment. Maybe we’re the 20% who mean success or failure to you. That would be the Pareto rule. Twenty percent of your business is typically responsible for 80% of your income. Do you want to continue to risk your career or business? Maybe you do.

Keep spewing sewage if you cannot help yourself. Or if you think that despite the costs, it’s more important to be one of the gang. Or it’s your way to be popular, a big shot, and get cheap laughs. Or you just lack the common sense or ambition to get ahead.

Or stop. And, welcome the unlimited possibilities you have when anyone anywhere can develop a positive and powerful image of you who are.


Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers. Read more at NanceRosenBlog. Twitter name: nancerosen