When you say something is as important as how and what you say.
If you’re like me, you sometimes say important things at the most inopportune times. You have all you can do to not crawl in a hole and die. Your foot is stuck in your mouth. You keep talking and make things worse. We’ve all done it.
You tell your friend they have something in their teeth as they take the stage for an important presentation. You say I love you before it’s time. You demand something the other person isn’t ready to give.
Words matter in relationship communication.
Taking time to think about what, when and how we’re communicating is important to building longstanding relationships. In business we want to be professional in our communication with clients and prospective clients. Even if our personality is fun, outgoing or more casual, it is important to maintain a certain level of professionalism.
In our personal lives it is important to be mindful of what we say. For a longer time that I care to admit, I wouldn’t think about what I was saying. I just blurted out one-liners and jokes never thinking about how it made the other person feel. When I became the recipient of the one-liners I realized how easily we can hurt each other’s feelings.
The best thing my friends did for me was to call me out on my crap.
Whether I meant it or not, I was hurting people’s feelings. Ouch. I never wanted to do that. I wanted to be funny and engaging. I had to rethink how I was communicating.
Toastmasters has taught me a valuable lesson about relationship communication.
A great speech is well thought out, has less words and more silence than I ever imagined. The same is true for relationship communication. Take time to craft your next response to a colleague, friend or family member. Think about how your words matter to others.
Sometimes the best thing we can say is nothing…or at least a lot less. Sometimes it is how we convey a message and sometimes it is timing.