How to speak intentionally

How to speak intentionally

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.

Say what you mean and mean what you say

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?

Categories: Personal growth

6 Comments

  • tcavey says:

    Very good advice. I struggle when I don’t want to hurt someones feelings but I don’t want to lie either. Sometimes there is no way around the hurt but through it.
    Being tactful can help but it doesn’t always eliminate the hurt.

    Another thing I’ve found to be important is being willing to admit when you don’t know something.

    • You are right TC. Sometimes the truth hurts even when it is shared in a respectful and tactful way. This shouldn’t stop us from sharing it though. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  • William Amis says:

    Kevin leave it to you with this great article. More of us need to be transparent in our speech and actions. Most fear that others will not like what they say or how they say it. Hey, I rather get it out and no sugar coating and that may be my military family and background.

    I find that if you keep it real with people they do not have to agree. That is what being unique is about. Just speak with respect for others and get to the point. You can practice the 3 minute elevator introduction. This is how you do not waste your time and theirs.

    Kevin, thank you for having the courage to produce this usable article. I have been making it a point to coach this to my group. Most of us act and speak on feelings. Just speak and communicate. It is not to force others to believe what your thoughts are. Just be expressive and keep it simple. Thanks Kevin for being you!

  • STEPHANIE says:

    YOUR ARTICLE IS SO TIMELY, WHEN AS A SOCIETY WE BARELY SPEAK TO ONE ANOTHER AT ALL IN THIS DIGITAL AGE. I SAY SPEAK FROM THE HEART INTELLIGENTLY. TO STAY BRILLIANT, WITH INTEGRITY AND AUTHENTICITY. LOVE THE COMMUNICATION STYLE, THANK YOU FOR YOUR WELCOMING REMINDER OF AN ARTICLE THAT WE SHOULD ALL HOLD TRUTH TO! SAGE TALK!

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