Body Odor, Bad Breath and Business

Body OdorHave you found yourself in an awkward position of having to tell someone his or her bad breath or body odor is no longer acceptable? Do others complain to you but they don’t have the nerve to broach the problem directly?

Try this approach and you will be pleasantly surprised how easily the issue can be addressed. Here are four ideas on how to approach this delicate situation. Do you have something to add?

  1. “I have something of a personal nature to discuss with you.  Is this a good time for you?”
  2. “Under most circumstances this wouldn’t be my business, but because we work in close quarters (work with the public, etc) I need your help. It seems that your body odor (or bad breath) has become an issue and others (clients, colleagues, customers) have complained. How can I help you address this because something needs to change?”
  3. “Under most circumstances this wouldn’t be my business, but because we work in close quarters (work with the public, etc) I need your help. It seems that your body odor has become an issue and others (clients, colleagues, customers) have complained. What do you think you can do to address this?” (Notice it is similar to #2 but with a twist at the end.)
  4. “There are some things even your best friend is too embarrassed to tell you, but I know I would want someone to tell me.  You have a body (or breath) odor and it needs to be addressed.  I’m bringing this up primarily for you because this can be an indicator that you have something medically going on that is not good.  What can I do to help?”
  5. “As an employee you are perceived AS the company and have a reflection on how people see our team. This isn’t an attempt to humiliate or intimidate you.   I’m simply asking you to address it and take care of it.  OK?”

Give them a deadline on when this needs to be resolved. Keep yourself open as a resource. Addressing issues in with your team, peers and superiors is your responsibility. Learning how to confidently address every issue through polished communication places you ahead of most other people. This important skill will spill over into your personal life too. Let me know what ideas you have!

Cheers, Marsha

p.s. Let me know if you need to further build your group by helping them improve communications, reduce conflict, polish platform skills, or listen more skillfully. The benefit is helping people embrace change, save time and build bottom line.

Marsha Petrie Sue
Professional Speaker, Executive Coach and Best Selling Author

Cell 602 418-1991 or Marcia

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  1. Angie says:

    Employees who walk to work may sweat and often, no showers are available at work. Ditto for those who go on a lunch-hour walk or run.

    This issue also disproportionally affects homeless workers who live on the streets or in cars. These will be found in the restroom early, taking “GI showers” but these are by definition incomplete. Employers view homelessness as a character deficiency and not as a paycheck deficiency.

    How should these issues be addressed?

  2. I think there is a very easy fix for your issue concerning the homeless or people that exercise during work. Employers can make available the large body size ‘clean wipes’ (some are made by Cottonelle) and people can take a quick ‘sponge’ bath in the restroom. I use these when we camp and they are excellent.

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