The Power of Gossip

June 8th, 2020

Why do you think Gerry is moaning so much these days? Some people said, it’s because she has a lot of work and she isn’t sure if it’ll all get done on time. Others said, it’s because, as a trainer, she is stressed about the ongoing internal training programme.

The above suggestions came up during an action learning activity called The Gossip Method. In reality, no one was right, but it allowed Gerry to explore the reasons for her current behaviour.

A few weeks ago, we started a new internal training programme at Three Mountains.  This training helps us to practise our skills and to get used to the training materials we have created for our clients. The training takes place once a week on a Friday afternoon. We start by energising ourselves through fun group activities. In the image above you can see us jumping about during an ice-breaker.

One of the most interesting exercises we did was The Gossip Method. Gossiping at work, great! I had no idea how this exercise worked before we gave it a try. First, we get into groups. One person shares a challenge they are facing, then how they feel about it. Everyone else gets to ask questions to clarify the situation. From this, they form assumptions about your situation. The person who has shared their issue turns their back on the group whilst everyone else shares what they think about what they’ve just heard. The good part about The Gossip Method is that it helps you to learn from the assumptions of others. It helps you to look for solutions by yourself.

Through this method, I learned that, as a professional trainer, the way you organise or carry out your training sessions will always have an impact on your audience. At Three Mountains, exercises such as The Gossip Methods and energizers help us to make learning fun and meaningful. We are not only learning and gaining important skills, but also actively shaping our workplace culture. If you don’t include engaging activities, your audience will soon get bored.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” The Gossip Method is a perfect example whereby all participants are fully engaged. This can be included as part of an impactful training programme. Remember, it’s not about the future, it’s about the present. So, don’t miss this out when leading a training session!

Gloria Rukomeza