Think. Then Speak.

We all face problems, and this post is about a common problem most of us have.

Do you have trouble communicating with people?

Do you "accidentally" say stupid things that hurt or confuse others?

Do you "say things you don't mean"?

Do things just "come out wrong" when you talk?

Do you find yourself "eating your words"?



Do you frequently find yourself with your "foot in your mouth"?



We have all these idioms assigned to one basic problem.

Talking without thinking (well).

I like to talk.

Maybe it's genetic. Maybe I'm self-absorbed. Maybe it's the coffee. I'm not sure, but I know it's true.

And let me be clear--by "talk" I mean communicate. We "talk" on social media, and I am "talking" on this blog right now. 

Make no mistake, our communicative hastiness can cause big problems in the digital world just as it can in the organic world.

The problem is my enjoyment of talking often causes me to talk for the sake of talking. I fail to put sufficient thought into my words, and they end up as a bit of a failure.

Words are like any other investment--time, money, etc. If you plan carefully and execute well, you can make a big difference with a small investment. But if you act hastily, you can squander what you have; or worse yet, misuse can harm you and/or others.

What can we do to solve this problem?

James 1:19 Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. [emphasis added]

But being "slow to speak" is rather ambiguous. Does that mean we should speak slowly to enunciate better? I don't think that's the idea.

Is slow speaking so we can give more thought to our word choice? 

Yes; but even then, what are we supposed to think about?

1) Motivation / Intent

Why am I saying this? Is my motivation good?

Helping someone? 

Making myself look good? 

Impressing someone? 

Hurting someone? 

Transmitting information?

2) Ramifications / Consequences

What are the consequences of saying this and are the consequences worth the benefits?

Are you neglecting a person or group of people that will be hurt, offended, or confused by what you're saying?

3) Presentation / Word Choice

Is there a better way to say this? 

Choose your words wisely. 

Be aware of non-verbal communication. It's not just what you say, but how you say it.

4) Timing / Location

Is right here, right now the best time to say this?

Many things need to be said--but timing is everything.

Conclusion:

I don't know about you, but I could probably avoid a lot of trouble by keeping my mouth shut.

Experience has taught me that waiting and reflecting on my communication is the best course of action.

Sometimes the next day I consider what I was going to say and think, "I'm so glad I didn't say that."

Has that happened to you?

Proverbs 21:23 [Whoever] keeps [controls] his mouth and his tongue keeps [protects] his soul from troubles.

Image credits:
'Eat your words' image from http://www.idioms4you.com/complete-idioms/eat-your-words.html
'Foot in mouth' image from http://ksyu.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/a-really-stupid-way-to-make-enemies-and-how-my-colleague-did-it/
Post image 'Think before you speak' from http://brucemctague.com/thinking-and-talking

No comments:

Post a Comment