I recently posted on Facebook and Twitter:
“Just because you think it doesn’t mean you have to say it. Self-edit before you speak. It can make a huge difference in the results!”
Yes. It can be the difference between a positive or neutral result…and a very negative one. The four steps: Pause, Think, Edit, and then (and only then) Speak, are worth it!
One person wrote:
“Bob, I will do my best to edit before I speak for 48 hours just to see if I can. 🙂 Most of the time I talk with my heart, which is not always a good thing for me to do.”
While I truly admire her dedication, I replied that it really depends on the situation. When of true long-term importance and in a very difficult situation, sure, sometimes 24-48 hours might indeed be a proper amount of time to wait. However, in the context of the above quote, I’m thinking of even just an extra second or two.
Sometimes, just taking that extra moment or few moments to think about what you’re going to say — and even editing a few words neutral makes all the difference. So, please, don’t put pressure on yourself to not say anything. And, by the way, speaking with and from your heart (as you mentioned) is fine. Just be sure that you are in control of your emotions before you speak rather than your emotions being in control of you.
My great friend, Certified Go-Giver Coach and Branding Authority, Bill Ellis shared something spectacular in his recent blog post that I believe covered this concept tremendously. He suggested three questions to ask yourself before you speak. They are:
- Does it need to be said?
- Does it need to be said right now?
- Does it need to be said by me?
I’d say that’s one of the finest ways to ensure you follow the steps in this blog title, and to make sure that — if you’re going to say anything — that now is the time and you are the person to say it.
I invite you to attend my upcoming free teleseminar 5 Tips To Supercharge Your Influence. For information click here.
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Great post…as always! I think that too many times, people feel that they are “anonymous” when posting online, so it’s ok for them to be insulting, call names, use bad language and so on. Unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse for a couple of months during the election! I always tell people that if they wouldn’t say their comment to someone in person, then don’t post it online!
Great post Bob! I have actually left business relationships because too often the person I was doing business with did not know how to pause, think and edit. If the brain thought it, out the mouth it came. It doesn’t serve me or my clients well in that situation and I can’t afford for another to damage my influence. Thanks for the great content!
Deb: Great insight and terrific advice. In a future post I’m going to delve even a bit deeper into that; how we might communicate with others online … if we knew we would soon see them in person. :-). Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us!
Christie: So interesting, isn’t it? I love how you put it: “If the brain thought it, out the mouth it came.” In other words, no pause or consideration between the “stimulus” and “response.” And THAT is so key. And, you’re so right; that typically does not serve anyone, and can harm the influence potential of those who associate with that person. Great thoughts, Christie…Thank you!
Awesome article, once again on a hot topic. Thank you for bringing it up.
“Pause… think … edit” – wow! That is awesome advise! By the way, it is very difficult especially with people ( myself included) to resist the temptation to respond as early as possible. Going slow, taking a pause to think during those times seems like an eternity.
But then, it is one of the most important aspect of having a pleasant experience on day-to-day basis personally and professionally. I am still work in progress…. but getting better everyday.
Kumar, thank you. And, it is difficult indeed. And, most people – even after understanding the concept – won’t do the internal work they need to make this a reality. But, those (such as you!) who will are the ones who’ll reap the enormous benefits. A simple thing (simple, but not necessarily easy) with huge results. Thank you so much again for your kind, encouraging words, and for sharing your insights with us!
As usual you bring us to a point of great thought and gently add correction where needed and encouragement in every situation. Yet we are all human and can miss it at times. People are always looking for leaders to speak the truth but it must be seasoned with respect and fact void of emotion. We also have to give people a human pass from time to time when they just have a moment. I think there are two really great quotes to live by – Harv Eker said -“How you do anything is how you do everything” Also from the another great word from Luke 6:45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.” What you say flows from what is in your heart. As we grow in wisdom and truth we learn when to speak and when to be silent and for sure how to push pause. Thanks Bob for being that leader as always.
Kathleen: WOW – thank you. What a wonderful compliment!! Please know how appreciated that is (and you are)!! And, you’re so right about giving people a pass, as well. As mentioned to Kumar (who I suspect has pretty much already mastered this)…simple, but not necessarily easy). 🙂
Thank’s Bob! GREAT point!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And so true 🙂
Wishing you a wonderful weekend dear friend ♥
Lene: Thank you, awesome friend o’ mine. Always appreciate your kind and encouraging words!
My mantra Bob, think, just pause and consider. You can save yourself so much by following that simple rule then practice it often. Thanks so much Bob 🙂
Jayne: Thank you. Greatly appreciate your kind feedback!
Wow, great share and thought provoking post Bob. Words can do one of two things build up or tear down. Depending on the situation and context some times tearing down are the best words we can speak and other time encouraging words are necessary to convey the message and show our compassion towards the people or persons we are speaking with. One message can turn it all around for someone. One word can change a life. Use your words wisely and think before you open your mouth is my take away from this post and share my friend. We each must be very careful what we allow to roll off your tongue! Thanks for sharing and caring the way you do my brudda, lol.
Bruddah Sean: Indeed, very rarely does thinking before speaking come back to haunt us! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
So Love this…. all boils down to Compassionate Passionate Communications
Pause, think, edit, speak. Brilliant. More great advice allowing us to respond vs. react.
Thanks Bob…and a huge thanks for the mention!
Carly: What a great way to put it. Thank you!
Bill: My pleasure, and thank YOU for supplying that wisdom from your post, from which I could stea…err, plagiar…I mean, utilize. 😉
Terrific post, Bob. This certainly needed to be said! I see friends and clients posting things that often make me say “Oooh… I don’t think you should have said that!”
People will tell me that since it is their “personal” Facebook page or Twitter account it doesn’t matter if they vent, share their views, etc. The truth is, people – including prospective clients – are watching you everywhere. We all live in a total glass fish bowl when we are online in the social networks.
I would add to the questions: “Does it need to be said by me right now on a social network?”
Gina: Great points you made, all of them. Regarding those who say that because it’s their personal FB page or Twitter account so they can say what they want, I think they are missing the point. Sure, they can say whatever they want…so long as they are okay with accepting the consequences of what they say. It goes to the question, “what are they looking to accomplish” by what they are saying?”