Turning Gossip into Gold

Landmark Education spokesperson Deborah Beroset was recently interviewed on the Great Day St. Louis television program on the topic of gossip. Beroset discusses the different types of gossip that people engage in, and how one form of gossip can actually be an opportunity to make something happen. Here are pieces of that interview.

Host: Is your gossip meanspirited or is it a form of celebration? Communication expert Deborah Beroset is here to talk us through the good, the bad, the ugly when it comes to all that chatter. Deborah, thank you so much for joining us.

Beroset: Thank you for having me.

Host: Okay. Gossip is a form of celebration?

Beroset: As it turns out it’s really only a small percentage of it is that kind of mean spirited, critical, putting-someone-else-down kind of gossip. A lot of gossip is just girlfriend chit-chat, over happy hour, on the phone, people just talking about other people that they know, what’s going on, who’s doing what, who got a new car, look at those new shoes.

Host: So 67 percent of women’s conversation is gossip; 55 percent for men. Why do women gossip more? I’m even asking the question thinking of it as a negative thing.

Beroset: Well, you know, women are actually much more readily admitting that they’re gossiping.

Host: So you’re saying that men do it too.

Beroset: They don’t like to admit it, but they love talking about what’s going on with other people just like we all do. At Landmark Education, we’ve noticed we’ve had more than a million people do our programs around the world and one thing we’ve noticed is that human beings – male, female this nationality, that nationality – love to talk about each other to other people.

Host: So it is normal the. Gossip is normal.

Beroset: Absolutely normal. Now does it always inspire us? Does it have us be happier? Does it leave me fulfilled? Not necessarily. And there is a kind of gossip, Carol, that is kind of gripey, grousing kind of gossip, that kind of conversation, and that’s the kind of conversation that we can actually use and turn around and cause something great in our lives.

Host: Okay, let’s talk about that kind of gossip that you mentioned comes out of griping. How do we turn that, as we said earlier in the show, how do we turn that into gold?

Beroset: Well first of all, you have to notice that it’s going on. I have to notice that I’m gossiping. So if I pay attention to what’s coming out of my mouth, there’s often a complaint underneath there. If I’m complaining; I’m telling some story where I’m the good guy and somebody else is the bad guy, and there’s a little juice in that for me but nothing really happens. But, if I look and see, you know what I’m really complaining about is that my boss is giving me more than I can handle, okay? So there’s an actual complaint underneath that.

Host: There’s an actual issue there.

Beroset: There’s an issue there, right? And I’m talking about it to someone who can’t do anything about it, right? So the second step in this process, Carol, is that you look to see, all right, what is the complaint, and what’s a request that I could make that would actually address the situation as opposed to just having me continuing to natter on to somebody else.

Host: And the request must be made to the right person.

Beroset: Exactly. That’s the key thing, right, is to take it to the right person. So if I figure out what is my request and I take it to the right person and I’m just straight with them, just make a powerful request, it is amazing, that moves mountains in life. Just powerful, straight communication.

Host: All gossip isn’t bad. That’s the revelation for today. Thank you for joining us on Great Day St. Louis!

Beroset: My pleasure.

Other videos can be seen at Landmark Education’s YouTube channel.


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1 comment

Nancy Froio says:

Thank you!
Conversation IS the possibility of transformation and “gossip” can be as great a way as any as an access to power, clarity and peace.
Speaking whats so is very actualizing for the speaker and it is for the listener to discern, distinguish and direct with their feedback or acknowledgement. Landmark Education is masterful in the art and power of conversation!
The intention of the speaker of “gossip” is a fertile place to look with many distinctions to be made. For example, is it gossip or are you trashing a human being and why? What juice are you getting from your speaking? Is manipulation or jealousy present? An appropriate question may be “why are you telling me this?”
For me, the most effective way is to direct the speaker with a complaint right to the source of the complaint in a lighthearted manner. It works! Again, thank you for this piece. I will use it in my coaching.

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