“Think before you talk” – the thing we never do! Most times we are listening to someone to reply and not understand. In the heat of the moment we may blurt out the unnecessary, whether overly happy or sad.
Before confronting someone, a family friend or an employee, there are several things you should consider first. How we talk creates a perception of ourselves and we all know personal branding is important. It dictates whether we will be taken seriously in the future, whether people stop to actually listen and whether our words hold any weight.
Most importantly, once said your words cannot be taken back. So here is what you should consider before talking.
#1 Take a moment
Take a walk in someone else’s shoes. Kings Of Leon have the perfect song called “Comeback Story”. It’s about walking in someone’s shoes and having you realise what can occur. Try to understand what can happen once you’ve said what you have said. Will it be good, would it be bad, is it beneficial or even offensive?
#2 How will it come across?
Sometimes we say things with no malicious intent behind it, but it can surely come across that way. Think about how you are going to phrase what you’re about to say. Whether it’s face to face, over the phone and especially through texting. Some things are best not said through text at all. Put in an emoji! Like a smiley face if you need to tone down the sentence, if it’s a personal message that is.
If work related, sometimes it’s best to document some conversations so email is always a great option. However, for sensitive matters that could easily be misconstrued always opt for face to face.
#3 Be prepared for the reaction
Sometimes when we say something that we assume is the best thing for us, it could be upsetting someone in the long run. You wouldn’t want that reaction but it can occur. For example having to give a colleague feedback on some work you feel was badly done. Some people may appreciate this but otters may take it offensively. So be prepared that the reaction you get may not be the one you expect.
#4 Look at your surroundings
I always find that this is important. If you haven’t noticed you may speak differently to your loved ones than you would your colleagues. Are you going to use appropriate language? Is it acceptable? Sure some may not care but I believe you should. You can easily offend someone by what you say. Why are they being nosey? They’re not, you’re just simply loud enough to be heard. It’s whether or not they are tuned in at the time you decide to speak. Just be cautious. There are places and times.
#5 Should you even say it?
Sometimes there are things that need to be said but it is actually not our place to say something. It can be hard to be in that situation but it happens. Is the news coming from you, the best thing? In some circumstances, you will eventually have to say something because you can’t let things get too far. Whether it’s someone you know is being lied to constantly. Or someone said they were going to speak to your friend about the subject and never does.
These are the things you need to think about. I know reading it may seem long but it’s quick to think about. Run the scenarios in your head, and then make your move. Remember what you say creates a perception about you and how you will be received in the future. This is not just important in the workplace but also in your private life.
There’s no point in living in what-ifs and regret if you can prevent it. So make sure you think.