This weekend I heard an excellent teleseminar presented by author and speaker, Susan Shapiro Barash, about how gossip damages friendships and relationships. I've seen this happen on professional social networking sites such as LinkedIn. There is this constant juvenile back stabbing mentality that is fueled by competition and jealousy - it just needs to STOP. I have written blog posts about this in the past and it's a topic that is not addressed enough.
We all have been the gossiper or the one being gossiped about at some point in our lives. Whether it's been in our social or profession circles, gossip is just toxic and hurts a lot of people and ruins reputations.
Social media makes it easy for people to easily gossip about other companies, employees and clients. It's one thing to create a positive buzz about your products and services and company brand, but it's another to be a virtual gossip and slam other people and companies online.
After listening to Susan, I realized that the tips she provided cross over to our professional relationships. It's time for the professional world to drop toxic gossip - "if you don't have anything to nice to say, don't say anything at all." I'm not advising against expressing your opinion or standing up for your beliefs and ethics. However, don't stoop to a negative level. If you earn a reputation as an online gossip (or even an offline gossip), no one will want to do business with you or buy your products or services - not to mention they will stop inviting you out to lunch!
Another tip: Take an inventory of your relationships. Are you hanging onto clients or colleagues who are toxic and aren't making a positive impact on your life or business? Ditch them! They will only drag you down in the end and think about your ROI - is it really worth their drama?
Think of it this way - would a good friend or ethical business colleague/client turn around and text something about you or post something in a group email IF they were a true friend or business partner? The answer is a resounding NO.
When it comes to gossip, it could potentially ruin a person's professional reputation - whether the rumor is unfounded or not. Think before you type (or speak). Would you want someone talking about you in an unfavorable way? We all are working hard to build our professional reputations. It doesn't help when someone gossips about you behind your back - whether online or offline.
Keep the online "word-of-mouth" clean, light and GOSSIP-FREE! Leave the gossip to the celebrity tabloids who have way too much time on their hands.