Weigh your words carefully

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” — Robin Williams
President Calvin Coolidge was known as a man of few words. His nickname was “Silent Cal.” His wife, Grace Goodhue Coolidge, told the story of a young woman who sat next to her husband at a dinner party. She told Coolidge she had a bet that she could get at least three words of conversation from him. Without looking at her he quietly retorted, “You lose.” 
Coolidge understood very well the value of using only carefully considered words – and those being few in number.
Words are an important part of our lives and leadership. Words matter. Knowing when and how to use them makes a world of difference. 
In his book, “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect,” John Maxwell says, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” And this is the challenge for us as leaders — to be lightning with our words.
Since our words are essential to our leadership success, let’s examine how we can weigh them more carefully. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when using your words as a leader.
Will my words add value?
I don’t know about you, but unfortunately, there have been times in my leadership that my words made me feel good at the moment but they didn’t add any lasting value. The writer in Proverbs says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” (18:21). Before using your words, be sure to ask yourself if the words you are about to use — verbally or written — are going to add value to the person receiving them. 
Is this the right time?
Your words are important. How you deliver them is as well. The right words at the wrong time can produce unintended consequences just as much as the wrong words at the right time. Before using your words, ask yourself: is this the right time for my words? If not, wait. 
Have my words been chosen carefully?
Leadership is a privilege and so too is the privilege to use your words to communicate. In a world of instant communication with the world, how you choose your words is as important as ever. Not every thought that enters your mind needs to pass through your mouth or be a tweet. Choose your words carefully because once you use them, you own them.
Who needs to hear my words?
There’s a time and place for everything — including your words. Words of encouragement, support, and affirmation are words that can and will benefit anyone in your organization at any given time. But then there are words that need to be spoken in private or that only a few need to hear. Know your audience, know their needs, weigh your words.
How will my words be remembered?
Here’s what we all need to be reminded of as leaders — our words will be remembered. And the question before us is how do we want them to be remembered? Were they inspiring? Were they visionary? Were they life-changing? Did they add value?
Final Thoughts
The understanding of your thoughts and words and how to use them in your life and leadership will go a long way toward your effectiveness as a leader. The key is to know when to use them, know when to hold them, and always make the most of them.
©2021 Doug Dickerson. Read more online at dougdickerson.net.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


Breaking News Alerts

To sign up for breaking news email alerts, Click on the email address below and put "email alerts" in the subject line: sdetar@thedanielislandnews.com

Comment Here