If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

You’ve heard it before. Maybe from a teacher or your mother. “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” Your mother may have been referring to what you were saying about a classmate or so-called friend, but this can honestly apply in all aspects of your life–as a child and an adult. Why? Because you never know who’s listening!!

It happens all the time. You’re in a restaurant with a friend who’s going on and on about the idiot they work with and how much they can’t stand the imbecile. Do you really know who all the people are sitting around you in ear-shot? Could be a neighbor, relative, spouse, best friend or trainer of the idiot. You have no idea, really. And, now, they’ve heard every word. We advise all our models and actors of this all the time. Be careful when you are on a casting. Be careful what you say and to whom you say it. Don’t say anything about the people working there, the other models/actors there or even the agency’s competition or the client’s competition. You have no idea who’s in the room with you and can hear you. Not to mention, you have no idea what kind of relationship the client or agency has with the people you are badmouthing, even if it is their competition. The negativity will often backfire on you–leaving a very bad impression rather than coming across as impressive or funny.

Case in point: A young model came to our open call a few months ago. She had a great look. We really were interested in signing her until she started speaking. The beginning of the conversation was fine and cordial. Introductions were made, we asked about her in general, where she lived, what she liked to do, did she have any modeling experience…. And, then the flood gates were opened. She proceeded to bad mouth every agency she had been with in the past. First of all, she had no idea who we were personally and whether or not we had relationships with any of these people she was bad-mouthing. Secondly, when something like that happens, all we can think is “Wow, is this how she will handle herself and represent us when she’s out on a job or at a casting? What will she be saying to our clients?” Her attitude killed it for her. We sent her on her way. Good bye! A few months later, she’s back at open call and with a completely different attitude. She even said so. She apologized for the way she behaved; saying she was immature. Funny, because we never said a thing to her the first time. This time, she and her new attitude were signed with IZON.

Any business school, consultant, human resources officer, job trainer, etc. will tell you, outside of the required skills, how you present yourself is key to landing that job and that dogging your previous employers is always a no-no. It’s a HUGE insight into your personality and a good preview of the type of employee you will be. First and last impressions are everything. This applies to all aspects of your career. Don’t bad mouth the people you work with, for or around. Your little rant may end up biting you in the butt.

“Kill ’em with kindness!” That’s the other expression my mother spouted regularly right along with “If you can’t say anything nice….” And they are the same ones I find myself repeating to my children. Yes, moms do know best. And what they tell us isn’t necessarily just for the playground.