I was one of those children who learned to speak young and never really stopped, like those children who learn to stand and take off running.
There were a few life lessons that she had to repeat to me over and over growing up. These related specifically to communication, and I’d like to think that they have finally sunk in.
Here they are:
- “Think before you speak.” This was a big one, the biggest one. It was necessary as a child and is just as pertinent, if not more so, as an adult. We all think things that are either inappropriate, ill-timed, or just out of line. We all think them, but we shouldn’t say them.
- “Get to the point.” This may seem a bit harsh to say to a little kid, and my mother may have put it less bluntly many times, but I had and have a tendency to ramble, to digress into little anecdotes and funny stories. In effective communication, there is a point of interest, a final thought or idea to express. Know that path and get there.
- “Watch your tone.” Sarcasm may have its place, and anger may be justified, but if we are seeking a level playing field, if we wish for our communication to reach a goal or to have a positive effect, we need to pay attention not only to what we say but to how we say it.