Saying the Right Thing: 5 Simple Secrets
Wouldn’t it be grand if every time you open your mouth, your words are a healing balm, a soothing song, a perfect comeback, a witty and insightful remark?
Oh, what a dream! But you wake up to the reality where, your words shoot out fire hit or miss, playing Russian roulette.
If only there was a way to always know the right thing to say.
I’ll give you a few secrets. Bonus secret, you won’t. You’re not perfect, so your words wouldn’t always be perfect. What’s more, Acknowledging and accepting your imperfection will take the pressure off you and actually give you a chance to assess each situation and provide a befitting utterance.
Secret One- Listen:
Your mother taught you to listen before you speak. Your Sunday school teacher said it too. The podcaster you listen to and the YouTuber you’re subscribed to all say the same thing. Did you think that sometimes things are repeated because they are true? In this case, it is a timeless truth. Listening is the best thing to do if you want to say the right thing.
How to do this:
Quiet your calculative thoughts and just listen.
If you pay attention in order to understand, you will naturally find an appropriate response.
There are two types of listening required here.
- Active listening, in the moment of conversation. Be present and aware of non-verbal cues as well. if possible, look the speaker in the eyes from time to time.
- Listening to others who are good speakers. But, we’ll speak more about this in a later secret.
Secret Two- Be Curious/Have Personal Interest:
Have you ever seen someone speak enthusiastically about something they care passionately about? Their eyes sparkle and even if you make no meaning of what they said, they sound intelligent and knowledgeable.
The thing is, when you take a keen interest in something, you seek to consume as much knowledge as you possibly can about said thing. Two things happen, as a result, you ask the right questions because you genuinely care about the topic, and subsequently, you know enough about it to say the right thing.
Now, this not only applies to general knowledge but notice, you can also tell someone cares about you by the way they speak to you. Likewise, when you care about people, it reflects
Secret three- Read/Research
A teacher once told me that you become a writer by writing and you become a good writer by reading what others have written. If you want to improve your speaking, read and listen to what others have said.
You cannot pour from an empty cup. Voraciously consume content that you would like to emulate. Listen to podcasts, read articles, hear and read how others string their words together, and like a baby saying mama because Mama’s mouthing the words, you’d be speaking just as eloquently as the speakers you fawn over.
Secret Four- Keep it short and simple.
Learn the art of stopping as soon as you’ve made your point. Don’t give in to rambling just because you want to remain in the spotlight. You know what happens when you ramble on without end, you end up sounding stupid even if you made some valuable contributions earlier. It will be quite difficult for even well-meaning people to remember the sense you were making before the blunders came rolling in.
Secret Five- Be Silent
If all else fails, keep your mouth shut and give a warm smile. Nobody ever says the wrong thing when their lips are sealed.
There is “A time to keep silent, and a time to speak” — Ecclesiastes 3:7
How do you know when to be silent? A classic example of a time to be silent is when someone's speech leaves you in a burning rage. You don’t want to fly off the handle and say things you’re going to regret later. Take a pause, breathe and think about your response.
Another prime time to be silent is when you don’t know what the hell they are talking about. Don’t give in to the need to chip in just because everyone else is giving their two pennies. If they notice, people might wonder if your silence stems from a lack of interest, rarely will they imagine that you simply have nothing meaningful to contribute. But if you open your mouth, there will be no doubt.
Proverbs 17: 27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. 28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
Just remember, you won’t always be perfect but if you keep these in mind, you’d say the right thing 9 times out of 10.