Eliminate Trash Talk for Greater Success
By Jack Perry
trash talk is an inevitable part of life for far too many people.
Especially in business, some people always seem to have something
negative to say about their competition, their co-workers, or their
clients. Regardless of how much trash people talk, it never has a
positive outcome. It destroys trust and often comes back to haunt you.
people talk trash? They might feel inferior, they might have had an
important mentor somewhere along the way who chose to trash his
competition, or they might believe that trash talking is an
appropriate way to advance their career. But it isn't appropriate, especially in business situations. You must avoid trash
talk at all costs, because in the end, you'll regret it. Whoever hears you talking trash-your customers,
prospects, co-workers, employees, etc.-will feel as if they can't trust you. They won't respect you, and they won't see you in a professional light. Worse, you won't be able to respect yourself.
can you do to stop the trash talk you hear and to prevent yourself
from talking it as well? Consider the following situations and
#1: Someone Wants You to Talk Trash on Another Person:
As part of
the human condition, people periodically have negative thoughts and
feelings about other people: their boss, their competitor. But you
can, if you choose, rise above these negative thoughts. When you let a
negative comment slip out of your mouth, think about the message you
just sent out…is that the way you want to be perceived? Make a
conscious commitment to diminish this type of behavior.
also avoid talking negatively by removing yourself from gossip groups.
You know who these people are; they always have some kind of dirt on
someone else. It is their mindset. They hang around during coffee
breaks and talk about anyone who isn't present. When you associate with these people, they will only try to
get you involved.
They'll ask, "So what is the new guy really like?" You know what
they are really asking; they want you to say something negative.
Before you get sucked in to their trash talking session, change the
subject. Use a non sequitur. You can say, "The weather is so nice
today, don't you agree?" Or, "You know what happened to me in the
grocery store last night?" Now the conversation has a new
kinds of minds exist in this world. Small minds just talk about
people. Medium minds talk about things. But the great minds talk about
ideas. When someone wants to lead you down the trash-talking road,
change the subject to something completely neutral. Then you won't say anything you might regret later.
#2: You Hear Someone Talking Trash:
is a reality you have to deal with, unless you sequester yourself from
other people. Part of building your reputation for positive talk means
stopping trash talk when you hear it taking place. If you hear a
person talking trash about a friend or team member of yours, you can
easily stop it by approaching the trash talker. Say something like,
"You know, she's my friend and I would rather you didn't talk about her like that." This will stop the conversation and
make these people think twice about talking trash in the future, and
they will respect you for doing the right thing.
not all trash talk is so blatant. Some people say negative things in a
sneaky way where you can't always tell if they are talking trash. These people are so
competitive, they want the limelight so badly, that they can't contain themselves, and they let little deadly comments drop here
and there. These people can't be stopped; they are going to let their negative comments slip, and
all you can do is prepare yourself for it and leave the scene. You
need to be on guard for these types because their motives are
difficult to prove. You can always give people the benefit of the
doubt, but you should choose your words carefully when you are in
#3: You're Tempted to Talk Trash:
someone rubs you the wrong way and you feel as if you'll have a heart attack if you don't vent, negative talk is almost always inevitable. In a business
setting, if you have the responsibility to provide your input on a
decision, you should be timely and candid about your feelings. If you
need to give input on whether to continue using a vendor or whether to
keep an employee, negative comments might be appropriate. But you need
to use the right language. Character assassination is not necessary.
There's a difference between citing flaws and being snide.
Speak in a
business sense. Explain what the person does that is acceptable and
what is unacceptable. In this situation, negative talk is necessary.
But timely, candid comments about how you feel about what should be
done in the case of an individual are completely appropriate.
if you're at a conference table or in a similar setting and another member of
your team is making you angry for some reason, then firing back
negative bullets is not appropriate. Bite your tongue and remove
yourself from the situation. You can go outside and scream, jump up
and down, or whatever else it takes to release your negative feelings.
Get it out of your system.
absolutely must express your feelings to another person, make sure you
choose someone you can really confide in. Don't release your negative feelings about a person in a counterproductive
way that could end up hurting you. And always be careful of what you
say to whom. If you talk trash on one of your team members to another
team member, somewhere down the road, the person you confided in might
betray your trust. This is just human nature. A situation like this
could cost you a promotion or some other valuable opportunity.
be able to confide in your spouse, but this presents challenges as
well. You have to be aware of how the negativity you bring home from
work affects your relationships with your family. While you might feel
compelled to share your feelings, consider whether that makes your
marriage any stronger. Sometimes, you're just better off going to the park and shouting out your negative
feelings. The trees can't talk.
Your Trash Talking for Good:
business, you win by taking the high road, you win with skills, you
win with ethical actions, and you win by solving your clients' problems. You don't win by trash talking your competition. The only thing you get from
negative talk is a bad reputation and a loss of respect. So commit
yourself to eliminating any trash talk, and take pride in talking
positively about other people.
strategies to overcome other people's negative talk and your own temptations to slip occasionally. When
you do, you will build character and a positive reputation that will
take your career to the next level of success…you will like the
person in the mirror.
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