There is an old French adage that says that you should “turn your tongue seven times in your mouth before speaking.” Now, as a kid I spent a LOT of time wondering just how one is supposed to “turn” their tongue. Which is definitely not the point of the old saying, but probably did keep me from blurting out anything unthinkingly, which is the point. So maybe it does work.
This week, on his favorite podcast, my husband heard some more constructive and helpful advice on watching what you say before you speak. Five simple questions that will ensure that you never say anything you’ll regret later.
1) Is what you’re about to say true?2) Is what you’re about to say kind?3) Is what you’re about to say useful?4) Is what you’re about to say timely?5) Does what you’re about to say further the connection between you and the other person? (Optional in that it doesn’t lend itself to every interaction you might have during the day.
Imagine for a moment that every person you work with used these questions before speaking? Meetings would be shorter, interactions would be more efficient, and feelings would never get ruffled.
Now imagine that you take those questions into consideration before talking to your husband, to your kids, to your friends. Nice, right?
Like any new habit, it’ll take a while to get used to pausing before you speak and making sure your words are filled with the right intent. But I guarantee that it will become second nature sooner rather than later, especially when you start to notice the impact on your interactions.