Archive for May, 2007

Tip #8–Avoid Gossip

Posted on May 30, 2007. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Management development |

Gossip is a credibility robber every singe time we participate. Even if the gossip is particularly tantalizing, making a personal commitment to avoid gossip will enhance our professional reputations. And eventually people will stop bringing us all those juicy items, thereby releasing us from even having to be involved.

I’m asked repeatedly whether gossip can ever work to our advantage. In a nutshell, no. When you hear the word “gossip,” do you think positive, uplifting, good news is about to come your way? Or do you think you are about to hear something negative and tantalizing about someone? Yup, it’s the negative stuff that gets gossiped about.

People rarely if ever spread positive gossip (that’s what one interviewer called it during our phone conversation for a magazine article). Usually it’s the negative stuff that gets spread like wild fire. And the usual experience when gossip is being spread is this: when the topic of that gossip enters the room, the conversation stops. Why? Because we don’t want the topic of the gossip to catch us talking about him (or her).

Gossip usually takes place in hushed voices or in private locales–precisely because we do not want it to be overheard. And yet … gossip is passed from one person to another evolving and changing the story as it travels.

If you’ve been the topic of gossip (and who hasn’t at one point or another?), you know what it feels like to find out that your personal life and experience has been passed around without your permission. Shame on the person who started the process. But shame on us, too, for trusting people we shouldn’t have with the details of our lives.

For your part–and your career, make a pact with yourself to avoid participating in gossip like it was the plague. When the Office Gossip (yes, this person is well known in our offices) starts to tell you a juicy story about someone else, ask that person where they got their information and whether this is something they should be telling you. Since the Office Gossip has a reputation for spreading gossip, you run the risk of having your reputation tainted by associating with them.

Protect yourself and your career by steering clear of office gossip. Your credibility depends on it!

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Tip #7–Breathe!

Posted on May 1, 2007. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Management development |

Seems simple enough. But if that’s the case, why do we so often forget to breathe … between sentences, between topics, before we speak. Check out Tip #7 for the consequences of not breathing and the benefits of taking time to take a breath:

Knee-jerk responses get us in trouble every time. To avoid giving those gut-reaction responses, we can learn to breathe before we respond–a big, deep breath taken in through the nose and let out through the mouth. Getting in the habit of taking that big, deep breath before responding gives us time to choose our responses more carefully so we can give those credibility-enhancing responses every time!

What causes us to forget to breathe? Getting caught up in the moment, whether of excitement or emotionalism, is a big reason why we forget to take a deep breath. The fight-or-flight syndrome also causes us to forget. When we are feeling self-protective, we slip into self-defense mode and when that happens we often forget to breathe.

If we take a moment to take a breath, we buy ourselves time to think through the situation. And if we think the situation through, a couple of things happen:

  • we realize that there may truly be no need for the level of defense we were about to bring forward
  • we choose better responses

When these things occur, we have an opportunity to present ourselves calmly and with respect for the other person. The result of that: we take the high road in communicating; one which always shows us in a better light.

Practice right now: take a big, deep breath–in through the nose, out through the mouth. Don’t you feel better already?

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