Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sam Chapman: The No-Gossip Zone: A No-Nonsense Guide to a Healthy, High-Performing Work Environment

MP3 Available Here

Sam Chapman, author and popular seminar speaker, will address his book: "The No-Gossip Zone: A No-Nonsense Guide to a Healthy, High-Performing Work Environment."

Although our guest today is Jewish, and is not a Christian, he addresses a problem that is undoubtedly one of the world's most frequently committed sins: Gossip. Tragically, the violation of the Ninth Commandment could very well be the Number One sin in the church of Jesus Christ.

The No-Gossip Zone leads readers across the world through the process of ridding their lives of office gossip, including how to identify gossip, how to curb it, and how to create a work environment which hums with creativity and fun, as opposed to bitterness and restraint.
The No-Gossip Zone is intended for a wide audience of readers, from employees who have been in the workforce grind for generations, to college graduates making their first steps onto the corporate ladder. The lessons outlined in the book are both old and legendary (i.e. do unto others) and new and modern (i.e. take a nap at work to recharge your batteries).

Author Sam Chapman’s personal experiences with gossip in the office (which are detailed in the book) have made him very aware of the destructive and sweeping power of gossip. He has found a way to curb the corrosive chatter in his workplace, and in its in place, created an environment of fun, acceptance, and empowerment. Sharing his message with other managers and employers is part of his personal mission and his corporation’s mission.

Sam Chapman is CEO of Empower Public Relations, Chicago’s most accomplished PR firm. After implementing authentic communication techniques in his office, Sam saw his company grow exponentially and he decided to share his expertise with the world.

Before founding Empower Public Relations, Sam was president of a venture capital firm named Parson Capital. He also founded a consulting firm named Parson Group, which achieved Inc. Magazine's top rating as the fastest growing company in the nation in 2000 (#1 on “The Inc. 500”). The Company was sold to a British public company for $55 million in cash.

Sam’s knowledge and passion for public relations inspired him to open Empower Public Relations in 2006. With extensive expertise in television production, he knows what producers need for great segments. His far-reaching, individualized client campaigns focus on shared experiences, resulting in hundreds of millions of media impressions every year.


YnottonY said...
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YnottonY said...

If I recall correctly, Mr. Chapman defined gossip in this interview as "Negative talk about another person when they are not present." While that may be a sufficient functional definition for his workplace [and I think it is], it hardly suffices either as a biblical definition, or as a definition adequate for all situations. So, to universalize his inadequate definition for church contexts and all other contexts is not less than unwise.

First of all, "negative talk" is too vague. Gossip is something condemned as sinful in scripture, but "negative talk" carries no moral connotations. It's as though it is mere criticism, but gossip is more than that. It is criticism done with evil or malicious motives. If gossip is "Negative talk about another person when they are not present," then we are engaging in gossip when we criticize the Pope, or other false teachers on tv, or elsewhere. What if I criticized Hitler as extremely evil in Chapman's workplace? Would that be gossip? Given his vague definition it would be, but I don't think I would necessarily be doing something wrong if I did that.

Secondly, his definition, since it is one used at his workplace, should specify what is meant by "another person." Perhaps he means "another co-worker." Could I criticize Hilter? Or Saddam? Or a President? Or a waiter at some restaurant who just served me poorly during my lunch break? Again, I think it is good to have his simplistic definition *for his workplace* since it will function to minimize gossip and promote trust *there*, but it should not be a definition accepted by Christians *for all contexts*, particularly since it is not a biblically informed definition, but something merely subjective and pragmatic.

Also, during the interview, gossip seemed to be equated with slander. That's not exactly so. Slander is false talk about another person, whether in their presence or not, but some gossip is true talk done with sinful motives. Also, I think gossip, biblically, is malicious talk that is not meant to be in the hearing of the one "whispered" about, but that is not always true of slander. "Bearing false witness," therefore, is not necessarily the same as gossip, which was another equation made during the interview.

I know that gossip is not something easy to define, but Christians should define it in a biblically informed way [so that the *evil* nature of it is underlined] and in such a way that careful distinctions are made, so that similar overlapping terms are not always equated with it.

Gossip is not less than evil communication between two or more people [whether oral or written] about someone else that is not meant to hear it, based on falsehoods, rumors or facts.

I appreciated the interview and Chapman's pratical insights on this issue in the workplace, but I simply find his definition problematic.

YnottonY said...

I'll modify my tentative definition given above:

Gossip is not less than evil communication between two or more people [whether oral or written] about someone else that is not meant to hear *them*, based on falsehoods, rumors or facts.

I changed "it" to "them," since the gossiper may in some instances want the other person to hear it [the content] eventually, but they don't want to be discovered as the source [they prefer secrecy and stealth] of the malicious whisperings/backbitings/talebearings.

YnottonY said...

Here's another observation: Gossip may even involve "positive" information, such as a married relative's pregnancy. She may tell you in confidence that she is pregnant and then tell you to keep it a secret for a time. If you tell others and violate that confidence, then you are still engaging in gossip, despite the fact that the news regarding her pregnancy is good/positive news.

So, again, we see problems with Chapman's inadequate definition.

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