I know that everyone is different.
I’ve always been just okay at thinking on my feet.
Back when I worked in the corporate world we would have meetings and others would come up with ideas off the top of their head.
I preferred to have some time to think. I wanted to go back to my office and sit alone and have time to ponder. Then I’d come back with my ideas.
That seems to relate to my nature to think before I speak. I have definitely said some things that I regret. That seems to happen to most of us and I’m not excluded, but I remember early in life seeing how some people would get themselves into trouble by saying something.
You’ve probably been in a situation where you react to someone by thinking to yourself, “Why did they say that?”
The reason is that they didn’t take a second to think about what they were saying.
The Downside To Speaking Quickly
The big downside to speaking before you think is that you make someone feel bad. I think that’s the worst feeling in the world when you say or do something that makes someone feel bad in general or especially feel bad about their lives.
It could be a simple comment where maybe you were even trying to offer help, but the way it came out made the person feel bad.
There are more negatives too like offending someone and turning them off to being acquainted with you. If your goal is to make connections in life then you need to be the type of friend that others want to have.
Speaking before you think can get you in trouble with that goal if you’re not careful.
There have been times when I’ve been in meetings with my boss at the time, CMO, and vendors that were pitching something. The meeting could be going well and then the other person would make some comment and I could see my boss kind of cringe.
Little comments made without though can make life and business challenging.
Taking A Moment To Play Things Out In Your Head
What I like to do when I’m working on a reply that’s important is to give it a few seconds to think about how my words will play out in the mind of the other person. I try to put myself in their position and think about what the best response would be for the situation.
It’s not always easy to guess what a person is thinking or how they will respond, but you can get pretty good at it with practice. You can learn by trying different types of responses with different people. You can kind of test things out, but it’s really about learning how other people think and then figuring out how you can reply appropriately.
And I don’t mean that you want to only say what the other person wants to hear. You’re not always looking to just make people feel good all the time. Sometimes you need to tell someone something they won’t like in order to help them. But in that situation the way you say something is really important and it’s worth taking a few seconds to think about the proper way to say what you’re going to say.
We spend so much time thinking about our own lives. I’m guilty of it. I’m not innocent. But so much of life is having meaningful relationships with others. And to be a good friend and to have good relationships it requires putting yourself in the other person’s position. It takes thinking about the best thing to say and the best way to say it. If you’re just flying off the cuff most of the time you’re probably not having very meaningful conversations or relationships.
Putting some thought into what you’re saying is appealing to people because it shows that you care about them and about what they’re saying.