Before You Speak

DSN9164-2-MI came across some notes I’d written for a message I presented at a church a few years back. There were some good lesson for leaders noted. Simply put, leaders must ‘think’ before they speak. The ‘THINK’ is an acronym to put into practice – immediately.

The ’T’ is for truth. In communication make sure what you say is the truth. Not a stretch or exaggeration, but the plain and simple truth. The first standard to measure communication by is simply to ask yourself this question: “Is what I am saying the truth?”.

The ’H’ is for help. Does what I have to say help the situation? I was told once that for every situation you encounter you come in bringing two buckets. One bucket has water and the other has gasoline. What becomes of the situation is the result of which bucket you choose to use. Many of us just react and don’t take time to think. But a good question to ask before you speak is: “Does this help the situation?”

That brings us to the letter ‘I’. We need to ask: “Does this inspire?” Do the words I have to say encourage better things? Do they inspire better actions, deeper thought and wider consideration? Will what I am about to say can help me motivate people do better things? Then I can help not only the situation, but all the people involved. If I have an opportunity to inspire and encourage, I must take advantage of it. The words we say must create and stimulate better circumstances.

The ‘N’ is for necessary. This is often overlooked – to much chagrin. How helpful would it be if we could just stop and ask ourselves, is what we are about to say really necessary? Does what I want to say really need to be said? Sure I want to say it. But is the basis of what I want to say dependent upon what needs to be said. So many times I could have improved a situation (and done away with later regrets), if I had simply stated what needed to be said. Not what I wanted to say. Unnecessary words can get me into trouble.

The last letter is ‘K’. The last question; “Is what I am about to say kind for everyone involved?” By saying “kind for everyone involved”, it means those present and not present. What a great standard to cut down gossip, back-biting and useless, damaging conversation!

Everyone, especially leaders, need to ‘T-H-I-N-K’ before they speak.

points to Ponder –
Think about the five things to do before you speak. Which one appears the most difficult? Which one the easiest?

Go through the list and rate yourself ‘letter by letter’. Why do you rate yourself the way you do?

Copyright 2013

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