Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thinking before speaking

There are two questions I ask myself before I start to speak at meetings:
1 - Does anyone really need to know that I know that?
2 - Have I established how we are "alike / like-minded" before I launch into how we are not alike?

The first question serves to still the inner voice that says things like: omg I just said that 20 minutes ago!... or …I know a better idea... or …I agree! Look at me! …or (my favourite) …How dumb are you??  We all know that voice even if yours isn’t as much like a teenager as mine. (thoughts on a 3 year-old’s voice having a tantrum in my head is for another post)

The second question is around establishing the relationship before I offer an idea/opinion. It allows for comfort for the other parties that I am trying to listen first vs. bulldoze and creates some trust by offering a context for me and my place in the dynamics of what we are trying to accomplish.

As I tell my mentorees, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes my inside voice gets out before I can slap a hand over its mouth. Sometimes folks will be determined to see everyone as on the opposite side of whatever is the issue. It’s always worth trying.

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