Learning to Speak :: Purpose, Tact, and Fewer Words

Photo Credit: blog.cmpsamurai.com

You know what I love about Do you know what’s great When was the last time you Thank goodness for backspace, and strike-through. Backspace, without you, my writing would be (figuratively) toast, (metaphorically) stuck in a rut, and (literally) chalk-full of errors. God has blessed me with an ADD mind that sometimes gets ahead in producing and lags a bit in thinking. And I praise Him for you, little black backspace button.

Speaking, though, is an entirely different matter. You know this if you’ve ever been asked to speak in front of any group of people; from 3 to 300, it makes no difference.There will always be something you wish you could have tweaked, or re-phrased, or not said at all. Because you’re human, and being human are, as a part of your nature, a little bit off, or a lot off. You need to be tweaked.

Here is how the tweaking happens. (And mind, this post is as much a reminder to me as advice to you. :-))

1. Speak about things that you care about, if you have the choice. One of the worst speaking mistakes you can make is to walk into a conversation about things you know nothing about and start flapping you lips. To be honest, when you do this to me, I’m not really thinking Huh! This guy sure has a lot to say. That’s great! Behind my false interested smile, I’m probably thinking Huh. This guy sure has a lot to say about nothing. I wish he’d let someone else speak up.

“If you can’t do, you’d best shut up about it.” –Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain

2. Think through what you are going to say before you say it. You’ve heard this a million times. I’ve heard this a million times, about seven hundred fifty thousand of which came from my fed-up elementary school teachers. That does not make it any less true. Wars have been started from angry, foolish words that, if only pondered upon for a second, may have been withheld. There is a right and wrong time to speak each thought that enters your mind, and it’s best to realize which before you do so.

“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” –God, Proverbs 15:23

3. Read through a thesaurus. The bigger and more words you can manage to use, the better. Is it not better to say “Dear one, of whom I was first birthed, I find that now I have a pressing need to relieve myself in a private fashion,” than simply “Mom, I’ve gotta’ go”? No. No it isn’t. Though there is a place for soliloquy and run-ons, it is generally better to say what you mean, and only that; To forget the ribbon and frosting and just go for the main point. There are thousands of people who will tell you, “You are just sooo fantastic and you write really well and I love the way that you do what you do and…” and only a few who will tell you “You’re writing is great. I’m honored to know you. Keep up the good work.”

“If you want to ensure clearer communication, cut the clutter out of your message by saying what you mean to communicate in as few words as possible. If you want your message to be clear, say what you mean to say using fewer words. If you want to be clear, communicate with fewer words. To be clear, use fewer words. Use fewer words.” –Joshua Skogerboe, “Less noise means more signal :: Be direct”

Speak with purpose, tact, and few words, and you will be applauded. Speak unintentionally, rudely, and with many words, and you will be shushed. Until the next…

When have you spoken poorly, and what would you do now if you could change it?


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