We live in a culture where we don’t always speak intentionally. We don’s always say what we mean and mean what we say.
We say things that we think others want us to say. We beat around the bush. We don’t always say what we are truly feeling and if we do we can do so in a very mean way.
Speaking intentionally is a gift. It allows us to take responsibility to communicate who we are to others. It is also a skill. We need to learn how to do it.
4 essential criteria for speaking intentionally
1. Be respectful (tactful).
We need to take other people’s feelings into consideration before we speak. Saying what we mean and meaning what we say is not permission to be mean!
Disrespectful: That’s a ridiculous idea!
Respectful: That sounds like an interesting idea, could you clarify what you mean?
2. Be honest.
Don’t say what you think the other person wants you to say. Say what you are truly feeling or thinking. Don’t FUDGE the truth!
Dishonest: I don’t mind if you’re late tonight.
Honest: I’d like to ask you to be home by 6 pm tonight.
3. Be clear/direct.
Think before you speak in order to speak well what you are going to say. Be specific. Don’t be vague. Don’t beat around the bush. Say what you need to say!
Unclear: I’d like you to head to bed around 9 pm.
Clear: You will be going to bed at 9 pm tonight. That means you need to be showered and with your teeth brushed before 9 pm so that you are in your bed with the lights turned out at 9 pm.
4. Be timely.
We need to pick a time that is not hurried and when it is optimal for the listener and speaker (not tired, distracted, raw, and vulnerable).
It’s important to note that we need all four of these criteria. We can’t just do 1 or 2 of them. I know that I struggle with all of these criteria from time to time. This is something that I am really working on in my life.
Which of these criteria do you struggle with the most?