‘Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.’
It’s always a good idea to engage our brains before opening our mouths – we’ve all had the experience of wishing the floor would open up and swallow us because we’ve said something insensitive, inaccurate or just downright stupid. So, how to avoid that embarrassing experience?
The old adage that we have two ears, but only one mouth so should use them accordingly is very true. I’ve said the wrong thing many times because I haven’t waited to hear what someone is explaining before jumping in with what I had to say.
Then there are good old misunderstandings.- this is one of my favourites:
Thinking about how the other person might interpret our words – giving them some context or explanation and accepting that people can’t read our minds – is a good place to start. Then we can confirm that what we’ve said has been understood by asking a quick question or summarising – a little feedback can avoid a big misunderstanding.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea – think before you speak, plan how you’ll explain something clearly, and check that you’ve been understood before you move on.