I cringed when I read this post by Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders. It reminded me of many times when I’ve spoken without carefully choosing my words. Most often, the results weren’t awful, like the loss of credibility Hurt examines. However, I know that I am at risk of miscommunication or offending someone by engaging my mouth before my brain.
Part of the problem is that I am more of a “talk to think” person (rather than a “think to talk” one). I have the basic outline of an idea in my head, and I use talking as a way to sort it out. Problem is, if you listen to the beginning of my communication, it’s fuzzy. And since I don’t give you a clue (“I’m thinking out loud now!”), listeners can be pretty confuzzled.*
The lesson here is twofold: 1. Take a moment to think before speaking, and 2. Give people a heads-up when I really need to talk an idea into some semblance of order.
* My daughter Maggie’s brilliant, made-up word combining “confused” and “fuzzy.”
Photo from iStockphoto.