Here in Indianapolis, leaders communicate in a variety of situations. It could be in groups, meetings, at networking events, or in one-on-one situations. Unfortunately, human beings always have the possibility of making a mistake in message or stating something publicly about a policy or issue that is insensitive or incorrect. In fact, every single time people talk, they have the possibility to say something they should not have said.
Although it happens to television correspondents, actors, public figures, and even politicians; most of the time, errors in communication and message happen at a much more local level. If most of us misspeak, we usually do it in one-on-one situations with people we know, live or work with, and the mistake is usually unintended. As soon as we realize we said something inappropriate, we try to fix it and apologize.
Every now and then, especially if something is said in public, it can carry deep consequences and the statements cannot be taken back. These mistakes are sometimes not even verbal; they are found on social media sites, in blog posts, in text messages or e-mails. These errors can cause damage to both reputations and livelihood.
Although the only sure way to eliminate these human-based verbal and written mistakes is to remain quiet, we know that this is often unproductive and virtually impossible.
Here are three factors to consider before speaking or writing in important situations:
- Stay on subject: Going off the discussion points can create problems.
- Always add value: Every message is a positive opportunity for growth and learning.
- Rapport build: After the communication has ended, make sure the relationships are better because of it.
As Dale Carnegie stated so well in his original classic book: How to Win Friends and Influence People; “Always make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.”
Words can make or break a business or a reputation. Thinking before speaking or writing just makes sense.
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