Saturday, October 20, 2007

66 Tips For Better Networking - #41

Route 66 - The Journey Toward Success

Avoid Negative Words

Often times in business we see people who go negative about their competition or specific individuals whom they know in the business community. I am always shocked when I encounter people who directly say or imply unprofessional comments, but it happens every day.

Disgruntled former employees will often say unfavorable things about their former companies for years to come, making themselves look petty to those who hear them. Somehow they do not realize that nobody really wants to hear about their past problems and gossip. Smart people fear these negative nellies because they know they could be the next target of smear.

Otherwise moral people will undercut the reputation of their competition for their own personal gain in selling situations. Again, they think that dark comments about other businesses in their industry will make their own company look better. It rarely does (except with others who love gossip).

Sometimes a person will decide that someone else in their business community is annoying and will talk about them poorly on a regular basis. Think junior high. These people have not mentally matured and still see the business world as under the same social structure as they lived in adolescence. I am amazed at the elitists who judge others regularly in networking situations.

It is not abnormal to discuss others, it is part of human nature. Yet you grandmother was right when she advised "If you don't have something good to say, don't day anything". People will remember if you are spreading gossip or trying to harm another's reputation. Additionally you never know whom might have a strong relationship with the subject of your smear.

I have a friend who is a successful and somewhat famous entrepreneur. I recently was in a conversation where someone started to "go negative" on this person. Rather than allowing the comments that were obviously about to come forth I interrupted and announced "before you say anything, you should know that person is one of my close friends". This negative talker still shot out a sharp tonged slash, but quickly walked away. After she was gone everyone else in the crowd laughed and told me not to take it personally that this person never has anything nice to say about anyone. Ahhhhh, so people do notice when you bad mouth others, they notice that you cannot be trusted, and tell people. So beware.

When behind closed doors with your spouse, best friend or coworkers you can say whatever you want (although I still suggest you don't lean toward the negative on a regular basis), but when in the public business community try to find the good in it will reflect better on you.

Before a reader decides jump all over me on this issue....I am only human and I make the same mistakes as others. But I try to stay "above the line" and not talk negatively about others. When I catch myself having gossiped or saying something harmful, I acknowledge it and try to be better next time. I also try to identify positive qualities in everyone, even people I do not personally like. Nobody is perfect, but we should strive to get better on a regular basis!

Have A Great Day.



Anonymous said...

It has been going on since business began, and will I'm sure until enlightenment takes hold of our global community once and for all.

In the end, those that harness needless negative energies toward others, deeply regret it. Similar to the comparison of a hard-driving entrepreneurial businessperson on their death bed.

Do you think many wish they had made that extra hundred grand, rather than spend those missed summers with their kids or grandkids.

Not many I would imagine :)

Positive karma begets positive karma.
Thanks for the post!


Tom Magness said...

Thanks Thom. This is one we all struggle with and would do well to follow our grandmother's advice!