The three levels of conversation:
The first level is gossiping.
The second level is talking about events, weather, or news.
The third level is thoughts and ideas.
I gossip. Not as often as I used to. I remember a few times getting burned by gossiping. I try to heed the advice to always say good things about people. I’ve been practicing this(and sometimes failing) for a while.
Change takes a while. As time passes, I notice how avoiding gossip has improved my relationship with people. I treat people better. I find I am more open with them. I listen more closely, and in a few cases have helped them out. I have a stronger belief in their abilities, which makes me more useful to them. They treat me better and I treat them better. Additionally, the law of attraction works. As I have raised my level of conversation, I have come across more positively influential people.
Classic advice is classic for a reason. Try out the advice, see how it feels for you.