Have you ever noticed that the most natural thing that you ever do in your life is to see things from your perspective? Think about it for just a minute. We don’t wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and say to ourselves, “Don’t forget to see things from your perspective today!”
The reason no one has to do that is because we all automatically see things from our own perspective. It is like speaking our native language. It is just a natural experience. And, since we see things from our own perspective, we typically speak from our own perspective as well. But, if we are going to say things to other people in a way that they will be able to receive them, it will require some thought on our part. In other words, has this thought ever crossed your mind: “If I understood you better and wanted to connect with you more effectively, would I have that look on my face?”
I know from first hand experience that when I have tried to connect with other people based on their personality type, I have always gotten a better connection. When I am talking to fast-paced people, I try to talk a little faster. When I am speaking to someone who is a little more reserved, I slow my words and tone down in order not to intimidate them. When I am dealing with someone who is task-oriented, I try to get to the point as quickly as possible. However, when I am speaking with someone who is people-oriented, I usually tell a couple of stories along the way, in order to get a laugh or a better connection with that individual.
Not only do we need to consider how we should say something, we also need to be careful what we say. We can sometimes offend people without even realizing it. I remember once asking a rather “plump” lady, “When is your baby due?” She replied, “I’m not pregnant!” So far, I have not found an easy way to retract comments like that. Therefore, I have learned the hard way that it serves me well to put a filter over my lips at all times. It is important that we take the time to think before we speak if we want to communicate well.
I am sure you have heard of the great quote by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill. At the height of the battle of Britain, on August 20, 1940, he made a great speech. He was trying to convey to the soldiers who had fought for their protection and freedom the gratitude of the British people. Churchill said, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” It would have been just as easy to say, “We all owe those guys a lot!” But, who would have remembered that statement? And, in addition to that, it would not have sounded like a very grateful comment. By simply taking that concept and thinking about it a few minutes, he said something in a way that has lived in the memories of most people for the last half century. That is what I’m talking about.
I want to be able to do that and I’m sure you do too. However, it does not come automatically. It requires a little bit of thought and preparation on our part. When we want to say something to someone, and we want to make it as impactful as possible, we should give it a little bit of effort and thought before we open our mouth and say something that is not as well thought out as it could have been. We need to consider how we can say what we are about to say in a better way, a different way, or a more helpful way.
Since the power of our words carries so much weight, and since they are the primary way we connect with other people, I would encourage us all to be more focused on saying whatever it is we want to say in a better way. I realize that no one can make another person happy or fulfilled simply by our words alone; however, we can go out of our way to say things in a better way so other people can more easily receive them.
Here is an exercise I would suggest you try: write down a sentence you are about to say to someone then rewrite it 5 different ways saying the same thing in a better way each time. You will soon discover this requires some thought and effort. However, it is well worth the discipline it will take to learn this new skill set.
Let’s put some thought into what we say to other people so that the person who is about to hear our words will be able to receive them and digest them more easily. It pays rich dividends both personally and professionally. I guarantee it!
Tip: Say the same thing in a better way!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm