Monday, May 7, 2012

Would You Put That In Writing?

Earl Wilson has a great quote: If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it.

Far too often people speak before thinking about how their words will land. This can lead to miscommunication, defensiveness and the need for the do-over. Especially in conversations that are of a sensitive nature, and when a relationship is at stake, it is important to communicate clearly and be prepared to stand by your words.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself before the conversation:

- Would I want to be on the receiving end of what I am about to say? (and if your answer is no, you can change the words)

- How will my message land?

- Is my message getting lost in the emotion and the drama?

- Would I be 100% prepared to put my words in writing, and sign the paper?

This is where preparation comes in. It saddens me that far too often people spend more time picking out their clothes for the work day or what they will have for dinner, then they spend preparing for courageous dialogue and important conversations. The result is often a conversation that went off the rails.

Worrying is not preparing. Avoiding is not preparing. Preparing is preparing.

A few ways to prepare:

- Jot down some brief speaking notes

- Practice the conversation in front of a mirror

- Refine the message

- Choose the right time and the right place

- Be rested