The next 3 in the Top 5 Things I’ve Learned in the Past 5 Years all have 1 thing in common...the mouth.
I can’t believe it took me as long as it did, but somehow I learned, The Way You Say Things Matter.
I didn’t know I had a problem with communication, I just felt like no one really understood where I was coming from when I said things. I was trying to express myself, but was constantly misunderstood. So, clearly it wasn’t just everyone else’s problem. It was my problem. And trust me, it’s still a massive work-in-progress, but here are the two biggest things I’ve learned about saying things over the past 5 years!
Only say exactly what you mean to say.
Communication is hard. I’m sure you’ve experienced at least once where you and someone else walk away from a conversation, and you both understood something different from the conversation. So, you’ll gain the trust of others, and have less miscommunication disappointments, if you train your tongue to say exactly what you mean to say.
I had to learn, and practice, how to only say exactly what I mean. This means taking out most superlative words like “always,” “never,” and, most importantly, “everybody.”
Quick note on “everybody” -- if you use the term “everybody”, you really need to mean everybody, otherwise, you’re losing trust with whoever you’re speaking to. To tell your kid “Everybody treats their parents with respect.” Then, the instant they see a parent disrespected, you are suddenly a liar. If you are using “everybody” when talking to your boss, your boss is losing respect for you because you are trying to speak for “everybody” when you actually mean only 1 or 2 people.
Your tone matters more than your words.
Your tone always has to match what you are saying. I especially learned this when I had kids….they will respond to tone before they respond to words. Maybe if you are not getting the response you are wanting with your words, perhaps your tone is off. I know for me, it took someone else telling me this was an issue before I realized it myself. It’s literally learning The Way You Say Things Matter. People will remember your tone more than your words, and respond to your tone more than your words. It’s extremely important and can be the make or break of what you are trying to say.
So I was actually learning both these things at the same time. It created some...awkward moments. (Seem to have a lot of those. Anyway.) Before I learned these things, I would just say whatever was on my mind, not worrying about how I would sound, but I knew what I was saying. When I had to start putting my words through both the filter of tone and specificity, it made me talk a lot slower and sometimes I physically looked like I was searching for my own words which I’m pretty sure made me look like a complete idiot but I didn’t care.
There isn’t a funny story today because….well I can’t think of one. Here’s some funny gifs.