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Precise Language: Say what you mean and mean what you say

           Effective communication requires individuals to exchange truthful information.  It is hard to develop and maintain functional relationships when one’s communication is based on lies.  The betrayal of being lied to, makes it impossible to trust the other person’s words in the future.  Every word that comes out of a person’s mouth, who has a reputation for deceitfulness, will result in disbelief.  Most people do not want such an individual within their social circle. How could one ever trust a dishonest person in their workplace, around their families, or amongst a friend group?

           Speaking the truth allows one to set the foundation for fair play and self-sufficiency, to recognize what is truly happening and not project past experiences to the present moment. When we are not speaking the truth chaos tends to appear and, thus, we act in a way that contradicts what we factually know.  A true feeling of freedom demands an unbroken relationship with facts, not things made up to make us or others around us feel better or protect the ego, but actually relay things truthfully and factually.  Even if two people “see things differently,” speaking that reality might lead to one re-evaluating their perception.  Indeed, if one’s goal is to seek out the truth, then the clarification will come as a result of sharing experiences and views.  It can get combative if one is unwilling to see beyond their own perception, hence why exchanging ideas and have an open mind is essential.

           A critical aspect of having precision with language is the conversations one chooses to engage in or avoid.  For instance, talking behind people’s backs and gossiping is a good example of conversations to avoid.  It can create hostilities with the individuals who are the victims of gossiping and destabilizes the environment.  It always strikes me as odd the individual who one minute has such negative things to say about a person, and the next minute they invite them to their wedding or show up to gatherings at the victim’s home.  The motivations of these individuals seem dubious, and usually, one instantly loses a bit of respect each time they conduct themselves in this manner.

           When one does choose to engage in dialogue with people, it is crucial to be intentional with your words.  The old saying goes, “It is not what you say, but how you say it.” The goal of any conversation is the communication of information.  If one cannot receive what you are saying because of disrespect in your tone, it would defeat the whole purpose of talking.  People are usually held accountable for what they say, therefore, it is crucial to understand the fine line of stating the truth purposefully and with respect.

           Small talk is often useful when done in the right circumstances, but can feel meaningless at other times.  In certain instances, people speak out of anxiety.  To calm themselves, individuals will start talking aimlessly to lower their nerves.  In other cases, a person may want to express something frivolous but essential in their mind.  For example, one could have a friend from a different country, and every time they see the individual, they bring up that person’s native country as a topic as small talk.  After repeated exposure to the same dialogue each time seeing the person, I think one could imagine how that would become annoying.  Just because a topic is interesting to one person, it does not mean the same is true for the other individual.  Knowing that sometimes saying nothing is the best approach shows a more mature understanding of effective communication.

           So next time you find yourself surrounded by a group of strangers – perhaps at a networking event, a party, etc. – engage in conversations purposefully and gracefully, keeping the above ideas in mind.

Vertis Williams is a Positive Habits Life Coach and a Mindfulness Trainer. He is a regular presenter at employee and team-development events. Contact him to request more info on his Workshops or on his Coaching Services! Click HERE to Request a Complimentary Habit Coaching Session!

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