“Lord, save me from the sins of my tongue and the flaws of character that fuel them. Make my words honest (by taking away my fear), few (by taking away my self-importance), wise (by taking away my thoughtlessness), and kind (by taking away my indifference and irritability). Amen.” – Tim Keller
I saw this prayer on Twitter. If it resonates with your spiritual side great, but it’s chock full of communication wisdom.
Fear impacts honesty. I encourage you to communicate with courage. It calls for you to say things that require a reaction. We hold off in conversations that need to happen because we don’t want to offend or contend. But problems don’t age well. We often wish we had spoken up sooner. Courageous communication causes you to communicate more timely.
Few words are better than more words. I learned early in my career that “listening was better than talking” and “asking questions is better than feeling like you have to have all the answers.” If your tendency is to dominate every conversation or to feel like you gain credibility by having all the answers, you have it wrong.
Wise words are thoughtful words. Think before rattling off. Choose your words rather than spew them. Consider the impact you are trying to make and the information you are needing to convey.
Kind words are best. It may seem obvious, but kind words are heard. They build trust and connection. There are times where words are tough and harsh. But kind words will win the relationship. They give you permission to communicate again.
Being kind, wise, honest and spare with words are skills acquired through practice. Worth the effort and attention.