Why office gossip can be good for you

Watercooler talk This story in Forbes caught my eye as spending time on water
cooler talk
is something that I do recommend in my coaching sessions for women.
Office gossip isn’t always bad for you, the reality is that many deals are
informally agreed
and relationships strengthened during this ‘down time’ with
colleagues. If you never participate in the banter and the ‘what are you doing
this weekend’ type conversations you may not be seen as a team player.  As Donna Eder co-author of the paper
"Strategies of Adult Gossip" says, when you aren’t the leader you don’t
have as much power to express yourself directly, so a well placed piece of
gossip
could do the job for you. The professional female needs to learn this social
skill
and use it to her advantage to create camaraderie particularly if she
works in a mostly male dominated environment, where she may be excluded from
the golfing and drinking outings.

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  • http://reflectwomenset.blogspot.com/ Esther Haines

    I agree. It certainly took me awhile to realise that building relationships, even just by turning up to morning coffee or taking part in a lunch time game of darts, helps with knowing who, what and how to ask about purely work related matters. I’m also reminded of my very early involvement in women’s networks in science, in New Zealand in the mid-1980s, when one women said that what would most help her was a crash course in how to talk cricket.

  • http://reflectwomenset.blogspot.com/ Esther Haines

    Thoughts on gossip from ‘Tips for a Massive Academic Job Search’ by Ellen Spertus (http://people.mills.edu/spertus/job-search/job.html), which although now quite old (it was written in 1997 and updated in 2009) and written for the US, has a lot of useful advice:
    “There’s nothing wrong with gossiping; “gossip” (the noun) just means “information”. You don’t need to say anything unkind; in fact, you should say kind things whenever possible. My host at one university only had positive things to say about everyone, which made a good impression on me. My advice would be:
    - Listen a lot more than you talk.
    - When you have something good to say about someone, say it.
    - If you have something bad to say, only do so if there’s a good reason and, even then, tone it down, and don’t let on if you’re enjoying telling it.”