This past weekend, we went out with a few friends to one of our favorite watering holes. We really enjoy the atmosphere, staff, and their martinis. Our server was a very energetic young man who clearly loved what he did. He made us laugh, was very prompt, and helped create a wonderful memory. (Note: If you work in the hospitality industry, you are not in the business of food or beverage, you are in the business of creating an experience)
At the end of the evening, we were talking about how much we really enjoyed our server. As he was presenting us with the tab, he said, "I have a few jokes for you..." No problem. We love good jokes and I'm anything but thin skinned. He then proceeded to launch into 3 or 4 VERY inappropriate jokes. We left with a completely different attitude than we had just minutes prior.
Here are a few things to keep in mind: 1. If you are in an industry where you deal with the public, your opinions are fine to share. Just have some discretion. 2. Not every client shares your view of the world/politics/religion, etc. Stay away from it. 3. Know your audience! I remember a story of a famous speaker addressing a group of GM workers talking about how great his Lexus was. He wasn't invited back. Use your head.
Keep in mind that it takes a long time to create a great impression and milliseconds to shatter one.