When first being interviewed by a client, and vice versa, I am always sure to let each potential client know that I run a business, and all if any casual conversation should always be about the goals that have been set. I work with a few friends,as well, and I treat all clients the same. The time my clients have paid for is time that is spent working towards achieving these goals.
Also, to engage in a conversation with a paying customer, that may ultimately lead to an argument,(politics, religion, abortion), could lead to loss of a client. I would avoid all conversation that people become passionate about.
Unless I can share how the politician/party is an advocate for health and fitness (endorsing health programs, fighting childhood obesity, etc.), then I just listen if the client brings it up. This helps to establish credibility in my role as a fitness professional, while showing a healthy respect for everyone’s viewpoints.
Ultimately, no matter the relationship, conversation topics should eventually tie into ‘all things fitness.’ When sharing ideas in newsletters or on social sites, the same guidelines should apply.
Yes, I discuss politics with some clients. I approach it like any other professional situation- sometimes it’s appropriate & sometimes it’s not. I don’t include personal beliefs about anything until I’ve gotten to know a person, so newer clients are usually a no-go. Many of my long-term clients know me better than my extended family members so I figure politics, religion & the like are just par for the course. If it seems like it could get someone upset then I keep it to myself, but why shouldn’t adults discuss these things openly? I like to exercise my freedom of speech as well as my muscles!