Rumour has it...

It’s funny how gossip at the office works. Most of us secretly want to be in on it, but nobody wants to be the subject of it – maybe because we realize that, despite our need to be in the know, the whispers by the water cooler can do
more harm than good.

During World War II there was a warning appearing on office and factory posters,   it read: “Loose lips sink ships.” In other words, be careful about what you say, and who you say it to.

Office gossip has become a widespread phenomena in most companies and organizations, big or small. It can cause work conflict, it even destroys reputations...

 Read on for some helpful tips on how to avoid it at all costs.

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

How are your work manners?

Some people don’t believe they are gossiping but rather networking.

Both these topics are covered in our
Power Etiquette programme. 

In today’s fast paced, competitive world, it is not just enough to be good at your job but it is imperative to possess the skills to be able to interact with all types of people. From open office courtesies, to networking, to handshake styles - we will assist you and your staff to convey the most appropriate etiquette at all times. For more information on this and other programmes click here
or contact us on:

Tel: 011 469 1396 or

“How would your life be different if you walked away from gossip? Let today be the day you speak only the good you know of other people and encourage
others to do the same.”

Steve Maraboli,
Life, the Truth, and Being Free

What is office gossip?

        Learn to recognize gossip straight away:

Informal Chat - the references made to other people are general, friendly and supportive. The speaker is not interested in degrading the person’s character
or reputation but merely giving information in a direct way to further an objective in an office conversation. If the person they are talking about overheard the conversation they would not be offended.

Gossip - is idle talk, a rumor about the personal or private affairs of others. According to Wikipedia it is one of the oldest and most common means of sharing facts, views and slander. The gossiper undermines the integrity and likeability of another person to become the centre of attention. They tell intimate details in a demoralising way.

Rumour has it...

How are your work manners?

What is office gossip?

Gossip vs friendly chit - chat

How to avoid this career limiting habit
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How to avoid this career-limiting habit :


1. Avoid at all costs spreading any information that you are not 100% sure of as being factual. Would you be able to tell the comment to the person's face without being embarrassed or ashamed? Think how you would feel if someone were to say the same thing about you.

2. Don’t play broken telephone. Even if you have heard something about someone else don’t pass it down the line, and don’t validate the gossip with a comment.

3. Distance yourself from the office gossiper, as you are known by the company you keep!

4. Don’t allow yourself to listen to the gossiper - this is a way of “supporting” the gossip and becoming guilty by association. When someone tries to involve you in gossip you can say:

    • “It’s really not my place to comment.” Then change the subject completely.
    • State that you are not comfortable talking about the person e.g.  “Let’s not talk about Thuli - I would really prefer to hear  
      about your weekend.”
    • “I hadn’t heard that about Wayne. Should we go ask him if it’s true? We wouldn’t want to be spreading any rumours.”
    • If the gossiper continues this is the right time to excuse yourself because you have "that" important call to make.

5. When you know someone is gossiping about you, be proactive:

    • Approach them directly e.g.“I heard that you’ve been saying the following about me…..Whilst I wasn’t there to hear what you   
    have been saying, I would appreciate it if you confronted me directly with any questions or comments rather than approaching  
    other people.” Or “I would appreciate it if you cleared that false comment with the people you have discussed it with.”
   • Approach them indirectly e.g. “I don’t know if you have heard the rumours going around about me. I really feel offended about
     them. If you hear whose spreading them, I would appreciate it if you would ask them to stop or tell me who it is.”
      Don’t elaborate just walk away to avoid a discussion.

6. How do you avoid being gossiped about? Don’t share intimate details of your personal life with everyone. Your colleagues might swear you can trust them with your deepest, darkest secrets, the reality is that you usually can’t.
                                         I believe that the Indian spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba had the right idea when he said,

                                                                                       “Before you speak, think: Is it necessary?
                                                            Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?”

                                                               Words to live and work by – remember them in this month of LOVE.


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