Communication Training: Difficult People–How to Confront Your Gossip or Backstabber at the Office

The most popular onsite course I’m asked to deliver is Communication Training: Difficult People–Confronting the Office Gossip.

People who will gossip WITH you will gossip ABOUT you
People who will gossip WITH you will gossip ABOUT you

The reason is that most people have had the unfortunate experience of hearing that someone has been gossiping about them or revealing information about them. When this happens, it can be difficult to communicate assertively and clearly without crossing the line into aggressive behavior. Remember: We train people how to treat us, and it’s up to us to train people to understand that gossiping about us will not be tolerated.

If you decide that you must talk with someone about the fact that they are gossiping about you (or about someone else) you can always use the “I know this can’t be true” strategy. It goes something like this:

“Hi Hector. Pepe told me that you said that I was having an inappropriate relationship with Jose, my employee. I know you would never say things like this about me, so I wanted to bring it to your attention right away. I’m correct assuming you would never say anything like that about me, right?”

This is a great way to give people an out. Nine times out of ten, people will respond with something such as, “Of course not! I would never say those things,” to which you can respond, “I know; that’s why I wanted to bring this directly to you. Can I count on you to let me know if anyone continues to say things that may tarnish my professional image?” And nearly everyone will say, “Oh yes, of course.”
And now everyone is on alert. People will know that if they choose to gossip about you, they will be accountable. Best of all, you can accomplish this in a way that is neither aggressive nor offensive, and will discourage further gossip.

Is your entire organization struggling with office gossip, backstabbing, and negativity? Do you need help? Contact us and see how affordable it can be to have an anti-negativity expert trainer and speaker come right there onsite to your organization.

Ready to subscribe to the communication and personal relationship training that will truly awaken the best in you and change your life?

If you’re looking for professional development training from the world’s best, Dan O’Connor is a keynote speaker and author specializing in communication skills, and Dan is the creator of “Tactical Communication Skills Training System” which has revolutionized the communication training industry.  Check out all Dan’s videos, books, audios, and other resources at

When you’re ready to bring your customer service to a new level and rid your office of toxicity, bring Dan right onsite to your business or government office. Go to Dan O’Connor Training and email us for a quote.

Dan O’Connor has been leading the communication training industry for more than 20 years. Through his bestselling books, his #1 rated YouTube channel, and his online courses, Dan transforms the global conversation and the lives of countless individuals every day.

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