Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Take control of what you say

The following strategies are designed to help you gain greater control over what you say and how you say it:

  • Check to see if the listener understand. Encourage questions. Never stifle the listener with "Stupid!" or the like. Ask, "Am I making myself clear?" "Do you know what I mean?"

  • Think before you speak. Avoid hasty generalizations. Ask yourself if there is a clear, reasonable connection between your statements.

  • Say precisely what you mean. Don't expect your listener to understand a hidden message. If the hidden message is worth saying, dare to say it clearly.

  • Try not to repeat. Condense your message and avoid speaking for more than a minute at a time.

  • Ask yourself, "How am I making the other person feel? Would I like to feel that way? How could I have said that better?" Become aware that put down messages are usually damaging not only to communication, but to the other's self-esteem as well.

  • Listen to the tone quality and volume of your voice. Is it harsh, too loud, irritating? Modulate your voice so it sounds pleasing to you. Do not speak louder than necessary.

  • Consider your body and facial expressions. Check them in a mirror if possible. Ask yourself, "How is what I'm saying coming through? Am I tense? Do I look worried, uncertain, angry?"

-Page 60 of "The art of talking so that people will Listen" by Paul W. Swets foreword by Norman Vincent Peale

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