When you hear media programs interview someone on an important topic and they gossip and berate someone else, do you feel … funny? Does it make your mind clog up? Do you find your focus wandering off the important topic and get sidetracked. Even more important, there is a something inside that may say, “That wasn’t nice.” We all feel the impact during gossip. This tip from my English grandmother’s list is especially important to honor people, others and you. (Originally from a very old “How to Get Along With People” article, by Ann Lander’s).
Tip 7 – Speak with Virtue
“Let your virtues, if you have any, speak for themselves, and refuse to talk of another’s vices. Discourage gossip. Make it a rule to say nothing of another unless it is something good. (Remember: a man/woman knows if you’ll gossip to him, you’ll gossip about him.)”
Do you have a funny side to you as a virtue? I love being around people with a sense of humor. Remember to use it in a good way.
Jokes about cultures, gender, and other sensitive personal traits hurt. If you are not sure how something is going to come across, just turn it around as though someone has said it about you. Feel okay? Then it may be fine. Yet … if you feel like someone just stuck a pin in your side, delete it from your conversations. It’s good to stand up for others and remind a jokester if their words are made up of gossip that it doesn’t sound, feel, or look good.
Rules are rules are rules, but here is a good one. Reserve your conversation for talking about the fine and wonderful and appreciative trades of other people. When you meet a person, find one good aspect of them. Their voice, their shyness, their talent, their kindness, their amusing quirkiness, their fashion statement. Your words will come back around.
The other day I met with someone, and I said, “You know what your colleague said was that they appreciated your ability to network. They believed that you could teach them some good pointers.” She smiled. This was one of her talents and it felt good to be seen.
What goes around comes around. Imagine what you would like to come around about what you said… play it back as thought it was about you. Develop a reputation of trust, getting along with people, and enjoying communicating in a world of appreciation.
Enjoy your words.
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