During my 26 year career in administration, credit and management, I was fortunate enough to work for some seasoned professionals. I always considered it a compliment when these people took me under their tutelage. A couple of these individuals had a great deal of influence over me early on and taught me lessons that I have continued to benefit from not only in business, but in life.

I once had a manager tell me that a successful way to deal with a broad base of people was to treat everyone like they had an eighth grade education. By doing this he said, you will not insult someone who perhaps is not as versed as you, and you will also be more comfortable conversing with someone more experienced or of a higher intellect.

This was meant as a way to make others feel more comfortable who may have a more limited vocabulary or business background. It was also meant to make you feel more comfortable approaching someone who may be more worldly or knowledgeable in a particular area than you.

When attracting people to you or your business, you certainly do not want someone to shy away from you, nor should you lose an important contact or opportunity because you feel intimidated and thus shy away from them.

For me, this “little rule” has served me well. I have also learned not to be embarrassed if I do not know what something means. It doesn’t mean I am inferior; I just may not have been exposed to it yet. I make a mental note of the word or phrase, and when I get home, I look it up on http://www.m-w.com or google. These are great resources and I use them frequently!

People can learn a lot from one another, if they embrace the differences in their educational, cultural and professional backgrounds and deal with them respectfully.